Obama’s EPA Forces Shell to Cancel Arctic Drilling Plans; UPDATED

In a post nearly three months ago, I discussed Shell Oil’s threat to cancel plans to drill in the artic due to red tape imposed by Obama’s EPA.  Today Shell confirmed those plans, via Fox News:

Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexicowould take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site


At stake is an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil. That’s how much the U. S. Geological Survey believes is in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean. For perspective, that represents two and a half times more oil than has flowed down the Trans Alaska pipeline throughout its 30-year history. That pipeline is getting dangerously low on oil. At 660,000 barrels a day, it’s carrying only one-third its capacity.

Production on the North Slope of Alaska is declining at a rate of about 7 percent a year. If the volume gets much lower, pipeline officials say they will have to shut it down. Alaska officials are blasting the Environmental Protection Agency. 

“It’s driving investment and production overseas,” said Alaska’s DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan. “That doesn’t help the United States in any way, shape or form.”

The $4.00 per gallon prices we’re currently paying for gasoline will seem like a bargain if this inept administration has its way. They won’t let us produce our own energy, but do what they can to promote energy development in other countries such as Brazil.  They then devalue our currency via such schemes as QE2 which guarantees foreign energy will be even more expensive for Americans than it would be anyway.  As Governor Palin has said, 2012 can’t get here soon enough.  The question, though, is how much we’ll have to suffer in the interim.   I was at an automobile dealership the other day and couldn’t seem to find those windmill or solar-shingle powered cars Obama is staking our future on. Surprisingly, they all ran on gasoline, a resource whose price is “necessarily skyrocketing” due to the inexplicable policies of our President in short pants.  More of that hopey-changy stuff, I guess.

Update: Governor Palin notes that Obama has literally and figuratively “booted” the energy issue via Twitter:

Sen. Begich: as u vote for debt increase,at least pressure your party to drill MT@foxnation: Obama Boots Shell Drilling http://bit.ly/g7rBhu

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