by George Pletnikoff
Every day, Shell oil creeps closer to the Alaskan Arctic. When Shell likely obtains final US governmental approval sometime in the next month, they will send their two rusty rigs into the Beaufort and Chuckchi Seas to drill exploratory wells–and begin sucking the life out of one of the last wild places on earth.
There is no safe way to drill for oil. Even with a supposedly state of the art rig built in 2001, such as the Deepwater Horizon, spills are part of the business. The Kulluk, Shell’s premier Arctic drilling vessel, was built in 1983, and to bring that thirty year old rig, one that must be retrofitted before it can safely leave port, well, that alone presents an unconscionable risk. That in addition to the company’s track record cleaning up their messes in much less rigorous environments makes it even more atrocious.
The Alaskan Arctic is home to animals like the polar bear, narwhal, Arctic fox and other iconic species in grave danger because of global warming. Instead of working to protect these species, Shell is looking to exploit the areas of the sea opened up by melting sea ice, which is abhorrent.
With every move Shell makes, the vise tightens around this fragile ecosystem.
Which is why Greenpeace is taking action.
As most of you know, Shell has been granted a preliminary injunction against Greenpeace USA that will last the duration of this summer’s drilling window. Shell’s move toward injunctions are meant to quiet our voices by restricting our rights to bear witness. It’s a nice try that complicates things legally, but does not prevent us from traveling to the Arctic to directly shed light on the risks posed by Shell’s offshore drilling operations.
Which is why the Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, is going to the Arctic to monitor Shell’s operations. We will be conducting independent scientific operations, meeting with Alaskan Tribal Communities, and hold Shell accountable. We don’t want to see any more photos like these, just unearthed from the government accounts of the Deepwater Horizon.
Greenpeace will be working to protect the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas from climate change and extraction industries, doing everything legally permissible within our power for the Arctic. We have a dedicated team, ready to expose Shell as the poster child of Arctic destruction.
This campaign will continue as long as big oil wants to destroy the Arctic. And we want you to be a part of this campaign. So here, in the comments, on Facebook, and on Twitter, we want your ideas of what we should do as we track Shell through Alaska on the Esperanza.
The injunction keeps us up to a kilometer away from the drill rigs and other vessels involved in the drilling—but they can’t keep us in the dark. Let us know your best ideas about how to hold Shell accountable while we’re up there—here, on Facebook, or on Twitter #SaveTheArctic.
The crew of Esperanza is watching you, Shell. And we’re bringing the world with us.