Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ranking Member of US House Natural Resource Committee Questions Shell Oil's Ability to Safely Drill in Alaska's Arctic

Democratic Party congressman, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts has written to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, questioning Shell Oil's ability to safely stop a blowout at their projected wells off of Alaska's Arctic coast:
Shell’s unsuccessful test in Puget Sound raises new questions about the company’s ability to successfully drill offshore in the Arctic and, more generally, about the ability of containment devices to function properly in the harsh Arctic environment.  The outcome of the containment dome test, the fact that Shell may have missed warning signals that something was wrong and Shell’s problems using ROVs, which could be required in an Arctic environment, raise troubling questions about whether Shell can drill safely in this harsh and sensitive area. [emphasis added]
Here's the full text of Markey's request (pdf).

Markey, who is the ranking Democrat in the US House Natural Resources Committee, quoted from several of the emails that are starting to come out as a result of Federal Freedom of Information Requests, some of which were released by Seattle public radio station KUOW last week.  The advocacy NGO, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility has filed two sets of requests for information on the testing of the failed containment dome, and on other aspects of the testing regime Shell has or is undergoing in order to drill in such pristine and challenging waters.

Although KUOW in Seattle and the BBC have been dogging this story, as has Progressive Alaska, and the blog firedoglake, there has been no indication that any Alaska media outlet has either filed an FOIA, or is investigating the safety issues regarding the Arctic Challenger's viability for its supposed mission.

The House Resources Committee is chaired by Rep. Doc Hastings, from Eastern Washington.  Rep. Don young is a member of the committee.  Young hasn't yet commented on Markey's request.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read just a teeny tiny blurb in the online version of the ADN a couple of days ago about the explosion of the containment dome during the test. If there was anything in the print version, I missed it. They're keeping this awfully quiet.