It may very well be that climate change has lead to the Arctic's sea ice hitting another record low, as researchers informed us.
Yet, oil company Royal Dutch Shell chooses to still remain oblivious to concerns raised time and time again by environmentalists and carry on with its plans to drill in these frozen waters.
Recent news informs us that said company received official approval from the Obama administration to prepare itself for engaging in exploratory drilling activities, which means that a couple of wells could be up and running in this part of the world before winter sets in.
For the time being, the green-oriented organizations which closely followed this issue have but one hope: that Shell's oil spill containment barge will fail to get its certification, and be forced to remain docked in northern Washington. Mongabay
reports that James Watson, working with the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, made a case of how, “Shell will not be authorized to drill into areas that may contain oil unless the spill containment system is fully certified, inspected and located in the Arctic.”
Therefore, the waters in this part of the world can only remain well-free (throughout the course of this year, at least) if the Arctic Challenger
is further kept ashore by the Coast Guard.
However, several organizations, amongst which the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace, argue that with or without the support of its oil spill containment barge, Shell simply lacks the technology to tackle any incidents which might occur as a result of drilling in the Arctic.
Thus, Margaret Williams from the World Wildlife Fund argues that, “The technology simply doesn’t exist to effectively contain a spill in the extreme environment of the Arctic Ocean. This is one of the most productive marine areas in the world, supporting hundreds of species and thousands of people who depend on the sea's bounty.”
For the time being, nobody can say for sure whether or not Shell will be able to actually have at least some wells drilled in the Arctic before harsh environmental conditions force its men to leave the area, but new information on this topic is likely to soon become available.