Just yesterday, in an attempt to put an end to drilling operations in the Arctic region, a coalition of green-oriented organizations filed a lawsuit against energy company Shell.
Their main complaint, which is to be heard by members of Alaska's federal court, is that said company is unprepared to handle oil spills that might accidentally occur in the Arctic waters as a result of drilling operations being carried out in this part of the world.
Apparently, they do not agree with the BSEE's (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement) decision that Shell is well equipped to deal with such potential threats to the wellbeing of marine ecosystems in the Arctic.
Thus, these environmental organizations challenge the assumption that the people working on Shell's drilling stations can efficiently prevent and control oil spills in these cold and dangerous waters.
More so given the fact that winter is soon to come and make the Arctic a place even more hostile than it presently is.
quotes some of the arguments brought to court by conservation groups such as Greenpeace, Oceana and Sierra Club, “We have been forced to court to make sure the Arctic Ocean is protected and Shell is prepared, as mandated by law.”
As they further go on to explain, “The agency [i.e. BSEE] has not met minimum legal standards to be sure that Shell's plans could be affective and that Shell has sufficient boats, resources, and spill responders to remove a 'worst-case' oil spill in the Arctic Ocean to the 'maximum extent practicable'.”
Unfortunately, seeing how Shell's ships are well on their way to the Arctic by now, it is highly unlikely that this year's drilling operations will not go according to the company's plans.
Hopefully, by next year's oil-collecting season, Alaska's federal court will reach a definitive conclusion with respect to this issue and immediate measures will be implemented.