Letter: Compass piece ignores facts, Shell’s drilling problems

The premise of Mary Ann Pease’s Dec. 25 Compass piece that the Arctic is key to America’s energy independence is as flawed as many of her details.

Pease neglected to mention that America’s No. 1 export is refined petroleum products. What pressing need is there to gamble with the Arctic Ocean when we export increasingly large amounts of oil? Further, U.S. crude oil imports are rapidly declining.

As for the details she provided about Shell’s performance this past summer, Pease failed to note several critical problems. One of Shell’s two drill ships nearly grounded near Dutch Harbor, and, during a test of its oil-spill containment dome, this vital piece of response equipment was “crushed like a beer can,” according to one federal official.

Finally, Alaskans should not be fooled by the name of the organization that Pease represents. The Consumer Energy Alliance Alaska does not represent consumers. Its board of directors and advisors is composed entirely of pro-resource development interests, including Pete Slaiby of Shell who heads Shell’s offshore development efforts in the Arctic.

— Tim Woody

Alaska communications manager

The Wilderness Society