|SHELL OCS Plans Inch Closer to Reality|
Anchorage – Shell Oil company had another success in its quest to explore for oil in the Chuckchi Sea of NE Alaska January 12th with the rejection of environmental groups attempt at clean air permit appeal with the Environmental Appeals Board of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The attempted appeal by environmental groups against the EPA, would stop or delay the issuing of a clean air permit. It is the second try by environmentalist to stop exploration in the Alaskan Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) by blocking the federal permitting process. The first appeal against the EPA in December 2010 succeeded and the Environmental Appeals Board ruled the EPA had not demanded sufficient study of onshore impact of exhaust from drilling operations offshore. In 2011 Shell resubmitted environmental impact studies to the EPA and its application for permit to satiate the ruling of the Appeals Board. In November 2011 that process was complete and the Board gave the green light to EPA to continue with its permit application process.
The new appeal was for the air quality permit for the drillship Nobel Discoverer which is one of two ships that will be used in the Arctic OCS. Shell was required to retrofit environmental exhaust controls on the ship amongst other environmental protection modifications as a part of its permitting process. The judges on the Environmental Board of Appeals stated that the petitioners had failed to show a need to reconsider the permits since Shell had already worked to successfully comply with the previous appeal decision by the Board. Both of Alaska’s Senators and Congressman expressed satisfaction that the EPA Board had finally come around to issuing the permits, and stated the delay has been far too long. Late last year Senator Murkowski of Alaska managed to pass legislation moving the jurisdiction of Alaska OCS air permits from the EPA to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management which already oversees permits for all other OCS areas. Alaska had irregularly been under the jurisdiction of the EPA. BOEM applications have a history of being less prone to delay. It has been over three years since Shell applied for its permits and has been unable to operate to operate on its ten year lease during this time.
About 34 permits are required by the Federal Government to be given the green light to conduct exploratory activity on federal offshore leases in the Arctic. Some of those permits require years of base line environmental study to obtain data sufficient to prove the soundness of development plans. This process often results in hundreds of millions of dollars in private administrative work, ecology and engineering study to satisfy the basic needs and technical, economic, scientific and legal expertise needed for a permit.
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Petition to Open the Alaskan 1002 Coastal Plain!
The Alaskan 1002 Coastal Plain was set aside by the U.S. Congress specifically for energy exploration. It is believed that this piece of land, roughly 1.5 million acres, contains billions of barrels of oil.
We know this can be done responsibly, as it is already being done responsibly in Alaska - the state with the highest environmental standards We need your show of support!
Sign the petition: here
Faces of ANWR
“Developing ANWR offers an opportunity to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our national security,”
said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
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