In opposition to a recent Obama administration approval leading to allowing Shell to drill for oil in the ecologically sensitive Arctic, Greenpeace activists have staged a harrowing and well-documented boarding and camping-out on a massive Pacific Ocean drilling rig.
The international team of six protestors is opposing an approval process underway in which the U.S. has upheld a 2008 Arctic lease sale and they are communicating live in real time with people around the world via blog, images and satellite phone.
At issue is Shell Oil’s last steps in an approval process with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The company has reportedly spent $6 billion already to explore for oil but the team of Greenpeace campers are drawing attention to the deal while suspended 100 feet above the churning cold ocean on the Polar Pacific rig while oil workers stand by watching.
A video shows how risky the business is, and one of the activists, Aliyah Field, communicated via satellite phone with writer Brian Merchant who posted on Motherboard her feelings.
“I am on the edge, underneath the drilling platform. I’m 30 meters, maybe 40 meters above the water; I’m on the edge. I see a lot of industrial equipment: large, oversized, four-inch diameter steel cables running from top to bottom,” she said, and the writer added she sounded calm. “It’s still quite dark. Some of the first daylight is just creeping up over the water … Shell has a terrible record of going into places to drill for oil.”
In 2012 Reuters noted environmentalist concerns that Shell ran aground with another massive rig but the Obama administration has decided to uphold the deal.
The administration has shown its record of promoting alternative energy is relatively stout, but its “all of the above” policy has never shied away from petroleum.
To this fact, and the Shell adventures in particular, Greenpeace is blogging and videoing its thoughts, as Field adds of her taking a chance to raise awareness.
“I am an extreme climber, but I’ve never done anything quite like this,” she said and laughed when Merchant told her the video of the approach looked crazy. “It was a little nerve-wracking to come up to a vessel of this size and board it,” she said to Motherboard.
More info can be found on the Greenpeace blog.