Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Shell Asks EPA for Permission to Violate the Clean Air Act in Arctic

Earthjustice

Shell's Noble Discoverer drill ship. Photo by Veda Webb, Unalaska.

In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent on July 19, a coalition of conservation organizations asked the agency to uphold the requirements of the Clean Air Act and refuse Shell Oil’s request for a waiver that would allow the company to exceed air pollution limits in the Arctic.

Shell previously said it could meet permit limits for its drilling operations in the Arctic. Now, with its drillship poised to begin drilling, Shell suddenly admitted that it cannot comply. At the eleventh hour, Shell asked EPA for a “compliance order” that would allow the oil giant to violate the Clean Air Act. The conservation groups said that Shell’s request for a compliance order would allow Shell to skirt the law and go back on its promises.

This request is the latest of a litany of last-minute problems that call into question Shell’s readiness and the government’s oversight.

In addition to seeking permission to violate the terms of its air permit, Shell has said that it will not recover most spilled oil, but only “encounter” it. It argued with the Coast Guard about building its response barge strong enough to withstand Arctic storms. And last week, it lost control of its drillship in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Following is a statement from Alaska Wilderness League, Center For Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Greenpeace, League Of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Ocean Conservation Research, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Resisting Environmental Destruction On Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Fund:

“Shell wants to break the law and violate the Clean Air Act in order to begin drilling in America’s Arctic Ocean this summer. No company should be allowed to do this—especially not in the Arctic, one of the most sensitive and important undeveloped places we have left on our planet.

“This is just one more broken promise from Shell, one more reason why the company can’t be trusted to drill in the Arctic.

“Not only has Shell admitted that it cannot meet its current permit limits, it has proposed revisions that would also violate the Clean Air Act. EPA should turn down Shell’s request for special treatment.

“In this country, we have clean air and clean water because we established safeguards to protect our health, welfare and environment. A corporate giant like Shell should not be granted an exception to these requirements simply because it wants to use equipment that does not comply.

“Shell Oil is clearly not ready to begin drilling for Arctic oil this summer. We call upon EPA to revoke Shell’s existing air permit and proceed carefully to determine whether a new or modified permit can be issued that meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act before allowing Shell to drill.”

Read the letter by clicking here.

Visit EcoWatch's CLEAN AIR ACT page for more related news on this topic.

 

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana has been converted to a 1,000-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients to alleviate stress on local hospitals. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

An area in Louisiana whose predominantly black and brown residents are hard-hit by health problems from industry overdevelopment is experiencing one of the highest death rates from coronavirus of any county in the United States.

Read More Show Less
A woman lies in bed with the flu. marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Several flower species, including the orchid, can recover quickly from severe injury, scientists have found. cunfek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Calling someone a delicate flower may not sting like it used to, according to new research. Scientists have found that many delicate flowers are actually remarkably hearty and able to bounce back from severe injury.

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 727 flies over approach lights with a trail of black-smoke from the engines on April 9, 2018. aviation-images.com / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With global air travel at a near standstill, the airline industry is looking to rewrite the rules it agreed to tackle global emissions. The Guardian reports that the airline is billing it as a matter of survival, while environmental activists are accusing the industry of trying to dodge their obligations.

Read More Show Less
A National Guard member works on election day at a polling location on April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy Manis / Getty Images.

ByJulia Baumel

The outbreak of COVID-19 across the U.S. has touched every facet of our society, and our democracy has been no exception.

Read More Show Less