Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.
Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”
What kind of hazard to people just how close?
The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.
The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.
Let me get this straight...245 people, seventy miles away might be put at hazard because an icebreaker wasn't taken into consideration in the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions? How about we shut down every freeway within seventy miles of any population of two hundred or more, because an extra tractor trailer or two might add to carbon emissions there! This is an incredible exhibition of abuse of federal power. Life is not zero emissions. It's time for the EPA to come to grips with the real world. Congress should take note and curtail the EPA. Voters should take note and curtail the politicians who allow such abuses to take place.
And when the demagogues tell you what obscene profits the oil companies are making (less in percentage than the taxes on a gallon of gas), ask them how the oil companies should handle multi-billion dollar losses imposed on them by arbitrary regulations from the federal government?
I'm sure they'll have a logical response!
H/T Pirate's Cove