Markey on Shell Decision to Halt Arctic Drilling: Just Not Worth the Risk

Boston (September 28, 2015) – Royal Dutch Shell announced today that it will end Alaska offshore drilling in the Arctic for the foreseeable future.". Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement.


“Today’s announcement from Shell that it will not drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean for the foreseeable future underscores the reality that drilling in this harsh and sensitive Alaskan environment is not worth the risk. Shell has repeatedly failed to demonstrate that it can drill offshore in Alaska safely.


“At a time when the oil industry is warehousing tens of millions of acres of leases on public land that it already holds and is arguing that we need to allow American oil to be exported overseas, there is no justification for continuing to push to drill offshore in Alaska or off the East Coast for oil that will then be shipped away to foreign nations where they can get a higher price. It makes no sense to ask American consumers to risk an oil spill so foreign nations can fill their tanks with our oil. I will continue to press the Obama administration to ensure that these important areas are protected.”


In 2013, after Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig ran aground in Alaska, Senator Markey pressed Shell for answers about the incident and future plans to prevent another grounding. He also challenged Shell on whether financial concerns were main drivers in Shell’s decision on the timing of moving the rig, and later released massive safety violations found on Shell’s other Arctic drill ship.


Senator Markey also recently joined eleven of his colleagues in the Senate in pressing the Administration to reverse course on allowing drilling in the Arctic.