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Lawmakers seek scrutiny of Greenpeace protest vessels, not just Shell

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

As Shell’s drilling vessels make their way to the Arctic, Greenpeace is following close behind. Now some lawmakers are scrutinizing the fact that the activist group’s northward journey escaped analysis while Shell faces unprecedented attention from government agencies.

Greenpeace announced it would be following alongside Shell’s vessels in order to protest and monitor the oil company’s Arctic exploration; the group also plans to deploy submarines upon reaching Arctic waters. Jackie Dragon, Greenpeace’s lead Arctic campaigner, told Fuel Fix that Greenpeace is “headed to the Arctic to show how little is known about this pristine ecosystem before Shell’s rigs move in to destroy it.”

According to a press release sent out on Friday, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., are riled up by Greenpeace’s protest plans. The duo wrote to the heads of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, stating in part:

“NOAA’s and BSEE’s analysis of planned oil and gas exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas has (meant) unprecedented attention to the potential impacts of vessels and other activities…Though the potential for impacts is similar, there has been no such analysis or permitting of the planned protest activities or the operation of the vessels participating in them.”

Dan Howells, Greenpeace deputy campaigns director, struck back, telling Fuel Fix that “If Sen. Murkowski really cared about protecting Alaska and the environment, she would be focused on stopping Shell’s Arctic drilling operations, instead of cheerleading for Big Oil and trying to block scientific research and peaceful protest.”

Read more, here.