EPA says Shell's Alaskan drilling plans close to receiving final approval

Polar bear on ice in the Beaufort Sea

In early May, Shell presented its oil-drilling proposal to the U.S. government, seeking permission to drill ten exploratory oil wells in Alaskan waters. Now comes word that Shell, with assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is ever so close to developing an essential air quality permit that would, if finally approved, allow the company to begin drilling.

Gina McCarthy, an assistant administrator at the EPA, says that:
I believe we are very close to a strong permit that will actually allow them to have three drilling operations going on in the Arctic in a way that is protective of public health and consistent with current law.
Shell had hoped to begin operations in the Beaufort Sea this summer. However, the oil giant scrapped those plans in February, after two air quality permits issued by the EPA were revoked by the Environmental Appeals Board. McCarthy says that the EPA and Shell are diligently working to get a permit in place that will withstand scrutiny from the appeals board.

[Source: Chron| Image: NOAA Photo Library – C.C. License 2.0]

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