The truly disappointing reason why Shell claims it stopped Arctic drilling

Big Oil just suffered a big loss.

Do you hear that?

Those loud cheers ricocheting throughout the country? That's climate activists screaming in euphoria.


And how can you blame them?

On Sept. 28, 2015, Royal Dutch Shell announced it's halting efforts to drill oil in Arctic waters off the north coast of Alaska.

Just a few months after the U.S. government cleared the way for the company to search for oil in the Chukchi Sea, Shell announced it'd be ending attempts to do so "for the foreseeable future."

"They had a budget of billions, we had a movement of millions," said John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace UK. "For three years we faced them down, and the people won."

Why are they backing out, you ask? Well, according to Shell, it's actually still about putting profits above our environment.

There's been a crazy amount of pushback against Shell for wanting to drill in the Arctic. Many orgs have come together to fight against it and publicize the many reasons why it's a horrible idea.

But sources from the company claim disappointing results from an exploratory well was the reason why it threw in the towel. (The project's projected massive budget and the U.S. government's complex regulations apparently didn't help either.)

So even if the company had been "surprised by the popular opposition it faced," as some say it has been, it didn't own up to it in the slightest.

Instead, Shell said it backed out because it didn't think it'd make enough billions to justify efforts. Hmm.

Photo via iStock.

This is great news (for basically everyone except oil executives). But it also means Shell still doesn't get it.

And that's all the more reason to keep the fight alive.

Although Shell has called it quits (for now), that doesn't mean the Arctic is off-limits. And there are plenty of reasons why it should be.

Take, for instance, the fact that icy conditions and little to no emergency infrastructure up there make an Arctic oil spill nothing shy of a nightmare to clean up.

Or the fact that any drilling of oil only worsens the effects of climate change.

Or the fact that Alaska's Chukchi Sea region is filled with wildlife that could be harmed by crude extraction — including polar bears, who use the area as birthing grounds.

Photo via iStock.

So how can you help keep Big Oil out of the Arctic?

You can fight alongside organizations aiming to do just that, like the Sierra Club. They've been devoted to keeping our earth green since 1892, and stopping Arctic drilling has become a top priority for the nonprofit.

"Wildlife like polar bears, seals and caribou rely on the Arctic's unique climate and pristine landscape for their survival," the group states on its website. "The consequences of an oil spill in this fragile wilderness would be disastrous, and we can't afford it."

Now's not the time to claim victory in our fight against Big Oil. It's the time to buckle down and get the job done for good.

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Sierra Club
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