Shell Made to Cough Up $1.1 Million (€0.83 Million) for Air-Quality Violations in the Arctic

Vessels used to drill oil-exploration wells failed to properly monitor pollution levels

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States announced that oil company Shell was to pay $1.1 million (€0.83 million) for violating air-quality standards that it agreed to abide by when it received permits to drill in the Arctic.

In a press release, the organization explains that, back in 2012, vessels that Shell sent out to carry out oil-exploration activities in the Arctic failed to employ all pollution-control and/or monitoring equipment that they were supposed to use according to the permits the company had received.

“Based on EPA's inspections and Shell's excess emission reports, EPA documented numerous air permit violations for Shell's Discoverer and Kulluk drill ship fleets, during the approximately two months the vessels operated during the 2012 drilling season,” the press release reads.

Furthermore, “On September 5, 2013, EPA settled with Shell for violations of their Clean Air Act outer Continental Shelf permits for arctic oil and fas exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, off the North Slope of Alaska.”

Information shared with the public says that, of said sum of money, $710,000 (€540,376) are for air-quality violations for which the crew aboard the Discoverer vessel should be held accountable.

The remainder $390,000 (€296,826) are for permit violations for which the crew aboard the Kulluk vessel must be blamed.

As the Environmental Protection Agency explains, “Shell has agreed to pay $710,000 penalty for violations of the Discoverer air permit and a $390,000 penalty for violations of the Kulluk air permit.”

According to Bloomberg, Shell might not have abode by the rules and regulations listed under its permit to drill oil-exploration wells off the Alaskan coast, but it did not surpass its legal annual emissions quota.

“The EPA did not allege any negative impact from Shell’s emissions to local populations, nor did Shell exceed its overall allowable annual emissions for the operating season,” a spokesperson for the company told the press.

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