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Approval of Shell Drilling Permit Brings Renewed Risk to the Arctic

In response to today’s Department of Interior conditional approval of Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling permit, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, managing director of U.S. Arctic programs:

"By prohibiting Shell from drilling into the oil-bearing layer of the ocean floor, the Administration tacitly acknowledges the high risks of offshore oil development -- risks that are inadequately addressed by Shell's exploration and oil spill response plans. After its series of missteps in 2012, Shell continues to have difficulty safely working in the Arctic, as shown by the recent grounding of the drilling support vessel Fennica.

“With no proven technology to thoroughly contain and clean up a spill in the remote Arctic, wildlife and local communities that call the region home are jeopardized by the ever-expanding search for petroleum in our most pristine and productive waters.

“While the Department of Interior has placed an important and necessary restriction on Shell’s activities, the exploration process still brings with it unacceptable noise, traffic and pollution to the pristine marine home of polar bears, walrus, whales, and seabirds.”

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