The Center for Biological Diversity called on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to permanently call off BP’s plans for a massive new drilling operation in Alaska’s Arctic, dubbed "Liberty."
Relying on dangerous and untested technologies, BP hoped to drill the world’s longest horizontal well off the Alaska coast. The plan was far from foolproof and, as with BP’s Gulf project, the federal agency that oversees oil activities in Alaska had been far too cozy with the oil companies. In fact, the Interior Department allowed BP to write much of the environmental review for this risky planned project.
And if something were to have gone wrong at Liberty — whose planned site was in the heart of threatened polar bear country — BP simply does not have the ability to deal with it. No one does. There is not the infrastructure or technology to deal with an oil spill in the Arctic. BP’splanned drilling location was so extremely remote that the nearest Coast Guard station was 1,000 miles away. There’s also no technology for cleaning oil on ice, and the poor visibility and frequent storms in the Arctic would make responding to a spill extremely difficult.
BP has suspended work on the project, estimated at $1 billion, but the Center will continue to monitor and fight the project if it’s resurrected.
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