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For Immediate Release, January 2, 2013

Contact: Deirdre McDonnell, (971) 717-6404,

Shell Drilling Rig, Run Aground Near Kodiak Island, Another Clear Warning of Danger of Arctic Drilling

SAN FRANCISCO— Shell’s Arctic drilling rig Kulluk ran aground on Monday near Kodiak Island amid high seas and strong winds. After numerous attempts to regain control of the vessel, the U.S. Coast Guard is now working to stabilize the rig, minimize damage and detect fuel spills.

“This latest mishap is another painful reminder that Arctic drilling is simply not safe,” said Deirdre McDonnell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Kulluk broke from its towlines; responders have been working in 30-foot waves and gale-force winds for several days to regain control of the rig, which was on its way to Seattle for repairs after preparatory drilling for Shell’s oil exploration in the Beaufort Sea.

“It boggles the mind that the Obama administration approved Shell’s drilling plans for the Arctic Ocean when it’s so clear that harsh environment is just too dangerous for drilling. The storm that sent the Kulluk adrift isn’t unusual in Alaska. An oil spill in the Arctic would be devastating to wildlife and would risk human lives. It’s a recipe for disaster. I hope the president will come to his senses and save the Arctic from oil drilling,” said McDonnell.

This summer Shell plans to drill several exploratory wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Despite several setbacks the corporation has received drilling permits for many of those wells. The grounding of the Kulluk calls into question yet more concretely whether their safety measures and Coast Guard response capabilities are adequate to allow Arctic drilling to proceed.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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