Good news! For those of you who thought that embarrassing delays and equipment issues would cause Shell to forgo this year’s oil exploration in Arctic Alaskan waters, you were sadly mistaken. Despite setbacks Shell believes that they will receive final approval from regulators allowing them to drill in the Arctic waters as early as summer’s end. Peter E. Slaiby, Shell’s VP in charge of Alaskan operations, said Shell is so confident in their ability to move forward that the company is planning on deploying two drill ships to Arctic waters in southern Alaska. Slaiby further reinforced his confidence in Shell’s plans by stating, “We absolutely expect to drill this year.”
It’s truly unfortunate that Shell has no regard for disrupting such a delicately balanced ecosystem. Greenpeace’s Travis Nichols noted the contrast between an Arctic ecosystem and an Amazon ecosystem in a recent Huffington Post article, stating that “In a place like the Amazon, not that you’d want to damage the Amazon, but if you do, there’s so much biodiversity and so many species there that can help to correct the web. In the Arctic, if you mess one thing up, you mess up the whole thing.”
One would think, if anyone, a native Alaskan can appreciate the stark, simplistic beauty of the Alaskan waters and the need to protect them. However, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska born and raised, is clearly too politically and financially motivated to take impending environmental disaster into consideration. She herself stated that the drilling would provide “economic prosperity to Alaska and the nation.” Additionally, last week Murkowski co-authored a pair of letters to federal officials complaining about Greenpeace, going so far as to request that “the environmental impacts of Greenpeace’s own activities be regulated.” Huh?
Just last month a drill ship dragged anchor, going adrift and nearly colliding with the shore of Alaska. Fortunately no damage occurred, but the incident did draw some attention to this massive undertaking in the Arctic. If drilling would guarantee an unlimited source of energy, then maybe (it’s a stretch, but maybe) the end would justify the means in this situation. However, drilling for oil is an expensive and hazardous endeavor, which in the end provides the U.S. with a finite resource. A short-term solution to a long-term problem.