North Slope Borough, Shell Oil Agreement May Be First Ever Collaborative Attempt

Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage

The recent announcement that the North Slope Borough had signed an agreement with Shell to conduct multi-year science studies in the Arctic may be the first ever attempt at such a collaboration. Borough Mayor Edward Itta says the objectives are to get solid baseline science collected on the largely unstudied Arctic waters off Barrow’s coast. Itta says the agreement creates a steering committee that will guide the direction of what should be studied. Itta will appoint a steering committee member from each of the North Slope Borough villages: Point Lay, Point Hope, Wainwright, Nuiqsuit, Barrow and the Barter Island community of Kaktovik. Itta will also select four independent scientists. Shell will also have appointees. He says the announcement by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management head Michael Bromwich that a decision would be coming ’soon’ on arctic development, concerns him.

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