Well, I have to admit that I’d have been surprised if President Obama had denied final approvals for Shell Oil to attempt to drill (again) in the Arctic. I’ve had several campaigns about this over the past year. All for naught, it seems. Keep in mind that Shell Oil has had a disastrous track record in this region, which is brutally inhospitable to both equipment and human error. The ONLY reason that this foolish endeavor is even remotely possible, is, of course (irony alert!) because we’ve melted the daylights out of that region and so areas that had previously been unreachable, or had very narrow windows of opportunity are now more vulnerable/available.
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And why am I not surprised that the final approvals were issued? Because Barack Obama has allowed the United States to become the number one oil and gas producer in the world. And his Administration is now pushing to begin drilling in the Atlantic, but it’s not for oil (more on that later). AND they clearly care so little about public opinion (or they assume we’re idiots – which may be true) that even horrific trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which is the Mother-of-All-Bad-Moves aren’t beyond the pale.
Here is the article, which just appeared in The Hill:
For those who don’t know Shell’s horrible safety record and utter past failure in the Arctic, in 2012, while the biggest corporation in the WORLD, with revenues of $467 BILLION dollars, they risked not only their employees lives, but also the US Coast Guard’s lives (they had to be rescued) by skeedaddling out of an Arctic drilling site in an attempt to evade paying (at most) a $6 million dollar oil-facilities tax. If they had been in an Alaskan port on New Year’s Day, they would have had to pay what is the “Shell equivalent” of loose change under your couch cushions. And so, a corporation which had already invested over $6 billion dollars (at that time) to drill in the Arctic had their rig, the Kulluk fail miserably and ultimately be used for scrap metal for a measly $6 million dollars. That same bunch of morons are now being given yet another chance to leak more toxic chemicals and spill more oil in the Arctic. And with world oil prices down the toilet, even more cost-cutting on safety is a near certainty.