Shell Drills Off Alaskan Coast

The feds have approved a Shell permit request to drill for oil off the Alaskan coast sans public comment. Often in the permitting process for project of this magnitude, the feds are statutorily required to invite public opinion and comment. This allows scientists, corporations, citizens, and Native Americans the opportunity to have their voices heard. In the Shell permit approval, no such process was allowed.

Shell plans on installing three to four wells a year with a possible total of 12 wells. Native groups are afraid that Bowhead Whales, an endangered species, will be affected by the wells. Underwater air guns are used to study rock formations prior to installation of the wells, this could scare whales into less liveable ocean terrain.

I don't want to get mucked up in a big political debate over endangered species and native populations. I don't even want to get into a big political debate over the oil in Alaska. But I really don't understand why we're still drilling for oil period. Whats the point? Why don't we just put our resources into developing alternative sources of energy and reducing demand for oil. Its like we talk the talk, then just drive away in our fossil-fuel burning SUV's. Thats what I would have said if they had allowed a public comment period for this permit application.

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