On its website, Shell Oil company talked about the need to drill for oil in the Arctic. Shell said and says, “We take extra precautions to work safely in Arctic conditions, for example by using extra barriers to prevent oil spills.”
Then Shell’s Arctic Oil rig, the Kulluk, ran aground on a rocky shoreline of Southern Alaska.
Guess, those extra precautions weren’t quite good enough.
In fairness, the Kulluk’s hull doesn’t seem to have been breached and no oil seems to have leaked. But, it begs the question, what will Shell’s response be when and if it has a leak.
For if we know one thing, we know this – offshore oil drilling comes with risks of leaks. Just ask the folks on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
So, what’s the answer?
Personally, I’d ban Arctic oil exploration. But that’s me. I’m a New Yorker. I don’t won a car. Gas (except for the kind that comes from eating beans) isn’t something I think about every day.
But, I’m a realist. I live in the World. I know that Arctic oil exploration is unlikely to go away. So, here’s what I propose.
1. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, your ship’s crew must first be able to sing all the words of Gilligan’s Island a cappella.
2. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must first buy and donate to the U.S. Government an area of land and/or water that must remain pristine and free of drilling that is equal or greater in size than the Exxon Valdez spill, and the land and/or water purchased must equal in value at least ¼ of the value you plan to make in profits from the oil you find in your explorations.
3. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must post a bond of at least $10 billion to cover at least the initial the costs of cleanup, remediation and restoration for the inevitable oil spill that occurs as a result of your operations.
4. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must first select the actors who will portray your workers in the movie about your soon-to-occur Arctic Oil Exploration accident.
5. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must actually pay corporate income taxes.
6. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you may not use the phrases “environmentally conscious” or “socially conscious” on your website or in any of your public comments.
7. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must live in the Arctic in the same conditions as the people on whose land your are drilling.
8. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must report in public the actual risks of an oil spill at any given moment of your operations.
9. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must donate to a Climate Change education and/or prevention effort an amount equal in dollars to that which you are spending on drilling operations.
10. If you drill for oil in the Arctic, you must spend at least as much time at the dentist having your teeth drilled as you do drilling for oil.