On Monday, 19 environmental organizations sought to step-up their pressure campaign on the Obama administration to deny, or at least delay, Shell Alaska’s permits to drill in the Arctic Ocean. The company has filed to drill 10 wells next year in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The groups say they are launching a year-long campaign against that, and any other plans to drill in federal waters in the Arctic. Emilie Surrusco is a spokeswoman for the “United for Alaska’s Arctic” campaign.
Among the coalition’s members are the Alaska Wilderness League, the Sierra Club and National Audubon Society, the Eyak Preservation Council, the Alaska Coalition and others.
Conoco-Phillips has also filed for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi next year. Shell has seen its Chukchi drilling plans repeatedly delayed, most recently because of a successful appeal of the company’s air quality permits. Shell says it has already spent $50 million on its exploration plan and is spending far more for environmental safeguards than any earlier drilling plan in Arctic waters, but Surrusco says compared with Royal Dutch Shell’s profits, the figure is minuscule.
The Shell exploration plan involves six wells in the Chukchi Sea and four in the Camden Bay area of the Beaufort Sea.