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WWF Statement on Dept. of Interior Review of the 2012 Arctic Drilling Season

In response to today’s Department of Interior assessment of the 2012 Arctic drilling season and challenges encountered by Royal Dutch Shell’s offshore operations, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Margaret Williams, managing director of WWF’s Arctic field program:

“Today’s report confirms what we observed time and again during the 2012 drilling season: that even the company hailed by many as the most prepared in the industry to handle extreme Arctic conditions was unable to conduct failsafe operations off the North Slope of Alaska.

“As we saw from the Kulluk grounding, which took place 1,000 miles from the drill site, regulators and Shell itself should have considered the entire scope of operations from Barrow to the Bering Sea, and Seattle to Singapore before any drilling was permitted. Our oceans are already stressed and offshore oil development in the Arctic adds yet another risk to people and marine life.

“In light of these findings, it is clear that the federal government should not have allowed risky Arctic drilling in the first place. In his press conference remarks, however, Secretary Salazar disappointingly reiterated the administration’s willingness to give a green light to further offshore oil development.

“While this report is an important first step in examining the series of errors that occurred for months before, during and after the drilling season, Congress and the administration must re-evaluate whether Arctic drilling can be done safely under the current circumstances.

“As President Obama calls for our nation to move toward a clean, renewable energy future, we must also continue to question the wisdom of rapidly expanding fossil fuel development in the Arctic.”

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