Obama Administration’s Plan For Arctic Offshore Drilling Safety: ‘I Believe There’s Not Going To Be An Oil Spill’


Written by Stephen Lacey

With virtually no infrastructure available to clean up an oil spill in the sensitive Arctic, the Obama Administration is still pushing to get offshore drilling projects developed in the region.

What’s the messaging strategy from the Administration? Trust Shell.

Talking to reporters about exploration permits for Arctic waters yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar summed up the Administration’s approach: “I believe there’s not going to be an oil spill.”


Shell has faced more legal prosecutions for safety and environmental transgressions than any other major oil company drilling offshore in the North Sea.

And let’s remember, the Arctic is a place where the Coast Guard has warned “if [a spill] were to happen … we’d have nothing. We’re starting from ground zero today.”

Heck, even one of the world’s largest insurance pools refuses to back offshore drilling operations in the Arctic, saying the environment is “highly sensitive to damage” and that the risk is “hard to manage.”

Discussing the technique of foreshadowing, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov once wrote: “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired.”

As we see in the graphic below, Obama already proved himself a master of foreshadowing in the lead up to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Let’s hope Salazar doesn’t do the same. (Hat tip to Greenpeace’s Joe Smyth for the image).

This post was originally published by Climate Progress.


Related Stories:

How To Purchase the Arctic With Only $4 Billion

Wyoming Oil Industry Pays Salaries of Federal Workers Who Issue Their Drilling Permits

Coming Soon: A World Without Penguins


Photo: Len Radin/flickr


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you ClimateProgress, for Sharing this!

Once again, the Politicians open their mouths and Ignorance comes out!

Julia R.
Julia R5 years ago

So are Salazar and Obama now soothsayers? Do they read tea leaves or use tarot cards. I think they are taking a pretty big gamble taking the oil company's word for it! No, we don't need an infrastructure available to clean up an oil spill in the sensitive Arctic as long as we have Shell oil's word that there isn't going to be a spill! Why, who would have the audacity to doubt Shell Oil and it's CEO? Certainly not the president or his Secretary of the Interior. Oil companies just have to much clout in Washington because they have so much money to spend on elections. And Citizens United just made it a lot easier.

Tammy Andrews
Tammy Andrews5 years ago

OFFSHORE DRILLING IS CRAZY! Obama - Romney - whatever. When are people going to wake up and realize it does not matter who is in office- democrats or republicans. The world bank agendas rule. Watch the movie "THRIVE" for free on youtube.

The two party system is created to cause infighting and distraction amoung us to keep people at odds with each other instead of standing up together and working to make change. WAKE UP AMERICA!

Michael C.
Michael C5 years ago

Let us see, drilling in the Arctic, sub-zero temps, incredible storms, white-outs, tall seas, if an "incident" were to occur, it would take days to respond and still the re-act teams would have to wait for the storms to subside.

Unlikely, remember the Deepwater Horizon "accident" and this occurred during fair weather.

Angela N.
Angela N5 years ago


Ellyn V.
Ellyn V5 years ago

While I am happy that the Obama administration's healthcare reform changes have been upheld, I cannot say that I am happy at all with some of the environmental policies that I have seen from this same group of people. More drilling is a terrible risk for the environment and is not likely to profit anybody except the oil companies. Although I do believe that environmental policy under Romney would be even worse.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

Too much wishful thinking wont stop it happening.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

Too much wishful thinking wont stop it happening.

teresa f.
teresa floyd5 years ago

Not quit sure if man just wants to destroy all of the united states,or maybe thats just the way I am looking at.
There will be no oil spill, WHAT ROCK HAS THE GUY LIVED UNDER

Arild Warud

You must always count on oilspills.