Potential oil spill from Shell rig threatens Alaskan Nature Reserve

From: Ben Ayliffe, Greenpeace
Date: Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 3:00 AM
Potential oil spill from Shell rig threatens Alaskan Nature Reserve

Dear  ____

Right now, one of Shell's Arctic oil rigs with 139,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of hydraulic oil on board, is being retrieved and assessed for damage after it ran aground within sight of Alaska's fragile coastline. The Kulluk got into serious trouble after hitting a typical winter storm off the island of Sitkalidak, near Kodiak. The old rig was stranded just miles from an endangered sea otter and sea lions habitat, threatening the area with a potential oil spill. After this latest fiasco Shell's reputation is now in tatters.

This isn't the first time Shell has put their crew and the Arctic at risk this year. The grounding of the Kulluk is the latest in a series of embarrassing accidents that have plagued Shell's attempts to find oil in the extreme Arctic. The company intends to try again next year and the decision about whether or not it gets that opportunity will be made soon. This is our chance to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic next year and beyond. Tell United States President Barack Obama to call 'timeout' on Arctic drilling and suspend Shell's permits.

A Greenpeace team is in the area monitoring the situation. The 30-year-old Kulluk was being towed back from the Arctic when it hit heavy weather that caused the towing line to break. After a 48 hour rescue attempt the situation became too dangerous and the team was forced to let the rig drift free.The US Coast Guard evacuated crew members by helicopter, and the rig ran aground just miles from the Kodiak Island National Wildlife Refuge. After six days of struggling harsh weather conditions, the rig is now being finally towed away.

This is more proof of the recklessness and unchecked greed of corporations like Shell. We cannot let them put the most precious areas of our planet at risk in search of oil and profits. Tell President Obama that we cannot trust Shell's assurances on safety. He must protect the Arctic and its wildlife and suspend Arctic drilling permits immediately.

This is the latest mishap Shell has suffered after an extremely rocky drilling season. Their woes included another grounding - this time of their drillship the Noble Discoverer - a flash fire on board this ship, an oil spill containment dome that failed spectacularly and "was crushed like a beer can" during testing, and warnings from the US Coast Guard for inadequate pollution prevention and safety equipment.

With Big Oil in the Arctic, disaster is not a question of if, but when. Shell's top officials have admitted that "there will be spills". It's time for us to put a stop to this insanity before it's too late, and right now with the media coverage of this accident we have a good chance of making our voices heard. Ask President Obama to suspend Shell's permits and protect the Arctic for all of us, and please forward this email to friends and family.

Thank you,


Ben Ayliffe
Arctic Campaign

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