As the BP oil spill falls into the pages of history and out of the newspapers drilling permits have been issued more readily. In fact, Shell was given a permit for a floating 4,000-foot-deep well on Thursday adding to four other rigs of theirs that are now back in business. Shell is also being granted conditional approval for exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean just above the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Michael Bromwich, the director of the bureau of Ocean Energy Management, stated that there would be oversight into the plans of Shell to ensure safety and environmental security. Although new security measures such as extra drilling ships, extra protections on blowout preventers, and emergency capping systems are said to be put into place this move will surely bring a good number of law suits- and for good reason.
In the Arctic not only would it be harder to clean up a spill but also it would be far more deadly as these waters are the breeding grounds for many species that are already endangered or at risk. A spill would also ruin the livelihood of the natives who rely on the pristine waters of the Arctic. The extreme weather conditions such as with freezing temperatures and gail-force winds also pose a serious threat to any attempts at stopping or preventing a leak.
For more information please visit John Broder and Clifford Krauss’ article.