29 Mar 2012:
Shell’s Spill Response Plan
For the Beaufort Sea Is Approved by U.S.
The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved Shell Oil’s plan to respond to an oil spill in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea
, clearing the way for exploratory drilling this summer. The decision follows similar U.S.
government approval for a spill response plan in the Chukchi Sea, and Shell said that separate exploratory drilling ships will begin working in the two seas off Alaska when ice melts this summer. Shell’s response plan calls for the exploratory vessels to be accompanied by more than a dozen ships that will carry oil-soaking skimmers and booms, as well as a capping stack that could be lowered into the ocean to control a blowout. The Interior Department estimates that 26.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion feet of natural gas lie under the continental shelf off Alaska. But environmental groups criticized the Interior Department for approving Shell’s spill response plans, saying there is no viable way to clean up an oil spill in the extreme, icy conditions of the Arctic Ocean. “The Obama administration once again decides to let Shell play Russian roulette with the Arctic ecosystem,” said Brendan Cummings, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Accepting entries through June 15, 2015.
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.