Michael LeVine, Oceana’s Pacific Senior Counsel, issued the following statement in response to Shell Oil’s announcement that it would try to drill up to ten exploration wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas over the next two years:

“Americans deserve affordable energy and healthy oceans.  We can reach that goal by relying on good science, being prepared, and having a full and fair public dialogue.  Unfortunately, Shell has chosen to greatly expand its proposed drilling, rather than working toward a lasting, responsible plan for the Arctic.  It appears that we will be faced, once again, with proposed drilling that the government simply cannot approve consistent with its stewardship obligations. 

“Rather than continuing the rush to drill, it is time to take a step back and look at the gaps defined by the President’s Oil Spill Commission, learn from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and take the appropriate time to develop an Arctic plan.  We should do what is best for Arctic Ocean and those who depend on it, not what is best for a company’s bottom line.

“Currently there is no proven method of cleaning up an oil spill in Arctic conditions; there are no trained personnel or equipment in the region capable of carrying out an effective response plan; and there is a clear lack of basic scientific information about the ocean ecosystem. The vibrancy and biodiversity of the Arctic ecosystem depend on how we manage future development.  Oceana will continue to work towards ensuring a productive and sustainable Arctic community and ecosystem.”

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