Arctic Drilling: Interior Orders Shell Back to the Drawing Board

The Department of Interior has figured out the obvious – Shell is completely unprepared to drill in the Artic.

After "reviewing" the situation, Interior concluded Shell began work without being fully prepared, particularly in regard to supervising its contractors.

They told Shell last week the company won’t be allowed back until it produces a much more detailed plan that’s tailored to the uniquely harsh conditions of the Arctic.

And a third party will audit whatever plan Shell comes up with because the government also "has a lot to learn."

Shell’s original plan, which the Interior allowed them to get away with, was simply "copied and pasted" from a completely inadequate general template. 

"Shell will not be able to move forward into the Arctic to do any kind of exploration unless they have this integrated management plan put in place," says outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "It’s that plain and simple."

After one ridiculous blunder after another which should have been more than enough to permanently bar Shell from drilling in the Arctic, Shell recently announced it needs to repair its rigs and won’t be back this year.

"Shell screwed up in 2012 and we are not going to let them screw up after their pause is removed," said Salazar.

Interior’s review concludes that Shell didn’t plan for the extreme conditions in the Arctic, noting the ability of its equipment to hold up even in the fairly moderate weather it encountered.

Salazar says the Obama Administration remains committed to drilling in the Arctic, after previously saying he doubts it could ever be done safely in such a remote, harsh environment.

"Shell’s lack of respect and lack of attention to detail repeatedly put lives and our oceans at risk," says Susan Murray, deputy vice president of Oceana. "The Arctic Ocean is unique and important. Americans deserve better care and stewardship than oil companies or the government have provided."

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