Alaska's Wildlife Saved From Threat Of Shell Spills For One Year

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Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has cancelled its plans to drill in the Arctic waters off Alaska this year.

Following a federal court ruling that put the company's multibillion-dollar project on hold, the company’s new CEO, Ben van Beurden, announced this week that Shell has decided to halt its exploration program in Alaska in 2014.

“This is a disappointing outcome, but the lack of a clear path forward means that I am not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014,” van Beurden said. “We will look to relevant agencies and the court to resolve their open legal issues as quickly as possible.”

In response to the decision, the World Wildlife Fund’s managing director of Arctic programs for the US, Margaret Williams released the following statement:

“Arctic offshore drilling is fraught with dangers that defy rational economic development. Shell’s decision to abandon efforts to drill in this remote and extreme environment in 2014 means that Alaska communities and wildlife will be able to go at least another year without the added threat of spills from exploratory drilling.

“Shell’s experiences during the 2012 drilling season proved time and time again the inherent difficulties in working in challenging Arctic conditions and even remotely meeting the safety standards required by the federal government.

“[The] decision should reignite the discussion about the future of drilling in America’s Arctic Ocean. President Obama called for our nation to move toward a clean, renewable energy future. We need to question how expanding the search for fossil fuels in the pristine Arctic impacts that vision.”