Friday, May 7, 2010
Spill Baby Spill, continued
Shell to court: We're ready to drill Arctic Ocean
By WILLIAM McCALL Associated Press Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Shell Oil is ready to drill in the Arctic Ocean this summer and asked a federal appeals court Thursday to rule quickly on a challenge by environmentalists concerned about the risk of a major spill after the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Kathleen Sullivan, an attorney for Shell, said the company has spent at least $3.5 billion on Alaska operations in the past few years as it prepares for exploratory drilling set for July in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
"Shell has waited years to recover its investment," Sullivan told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland. "We're ready to go."
"I'm sure Shell would like to win," replied Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.
Deirdre McDonnell, the attorney for the Native Village of Point Hope in Alaska, the lead petitioners in the case, argued that Shell had not made adequate plans to deal with an emergency, such as a major spill.
The Shell plan, for example, "doesn't say what happens if the drill ship is disabled or has sunk," McDonnell told the judges.
She also said government did not consider the cumulative impact of drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
The Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Thad Allen, who is overseeing response efforts in the Gulf, told a recent Senate field hearing in Alaska that oil spill cleanup is "significantly more difficult" in colder temperatures and the region has "limited response resources and capabilities."
© 2010 The Associated Press