How Shell Got The OK To Drill In Arctic Ocean

  • Scott Detrow

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

An antique Shell gasoline pump at an Ohio oil and gas museum

The New York Times takes a long look at how Shell’s proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean has “gone from improbable to inevitable,” and the role the Obama Administration played in both promoting and approving the effort:

Industry experts and national security officials view the Alaskan Arctic as the last great domestic oil prospect, one that over time could bring the country a giant step closer to cutting its dependence on foreign oil.
But many Alaska Natives and environmental advocates say drilling threatens wildlife and pristine shorelines, and perpetuates the nation’s reliance on dirty fossil fuels.
In blessing Shell’s move into the Arctic, Mr. Obama continues his efforts to balance business and environmental interests, seemingly project by project. He pleased environmentalists by delaying the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada and by adopting tough air standards for power plants, yet he has also delighted business concerns by rejecting an ozone standard deemed too costly to the economy.
And now, the president is writing a new chapter in the nation’s unfolding energy transformation, in this case to the benefit of fossil fuel producers.

The report also provides a revealing look at Shell’s exhaustive efforts to lobby both Washington power players and Alaska natives on the project’s benefits.

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