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STATEMENT: CAP’s John Podesta on Shell’s Announcement to Halt Arctic Drilling for 2013

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Contact: Christina DiPasquale
Phone: 202.481.8181

Washington, D.C. — Today, in response to the announcement that Royal Dutch Shell will suspend its Arctic drilling operations for 2013, the Center for American Progress released the following statement from CAP Chair John Podesta:

Today’s announcement is a reminder that the industry does not yet have the adequate technology to operate safely in this remote and harsh environment. One company hitting the pause button will not mitigate the risks involved, the Department of the Interior should hit the stop button to prevent any oil and gas drilling from taking place in the Arctic Ocean.

As CAP has detailed numerous times, the region lacks even the basic infrastructure – roads, railroads, ports, a permanent Coast Guard facility, adequate facilities to house and feed responders – that would be necessary to mount a large-scale response to an oil spill or other major incident.  These obstacles, coupled with the extreme and volatile conditions in which companies would be operating, led the insurance giant Lloyd’s of London to warn companies that responding to an oil spill in a region “highly sensitive to damage” would present “multiple obstacles, which together constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk.”  And Total SA, the fifth largest oil and gas company in the world, announced it wouldn’t seek to drill in the Arctic because an accident there would be a “disaster.”

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