'/> Uncommon Hours: Shell Oil Plan to Drill off Arctic Coast Advances
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shell Oil Plan to Drill off Arctic Coast Advances

Shell Oil is one step closer to drilling in the pristine Arctic waters of the Polar Bear Seas.

The Obama administration has approved an oil spill response plan for Shell's proposal to drill in the Chukchi Sea, which lies in the Arctic's westernmost sea. The Chikchi Sea supports approximately one-tenth of the world's remaining polar bear population and is an important migration route for endangered bowhead and beluga whales.

"We are deeply disappointed in the decision to approve Shell's oil spill response plan,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said. “The risk to fragile natural systems and native communities is clear.”

Brune pointed out that significant questions still remain about whether spill prevention, containment and response systems are equipped to work in challenging Arctic conditions.

“Big Oil's dismal spill record belies their continued assurance of safety,” Brune continued. “The unproven technology proposed in Shell's plan will not protect the irreplaceable scenery and wildlife of the Polar Bear Seas. Shell and other oil companies should not be allowed to move forward with risky, dangerous plans to drill in this pristine area.”

Big Oil, he added, should not be entrusted with the future of one of our last wild frontiers and the communities that rely on it for subsistence.

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