By Dan Carpenter
Channel 2 News
6:27 PM AKST, January 11, 2013
As Shell Alaska looks to assessing damage to its recovered drilling rig the Kulluk, the Environmental Protection Agency announced recently the company violated several air quality permits during its operations in the Arctic last year.
Two ships were the source of the emissions and Shell said the vessels were critical to its drilling plans this year.
The EPA issued the notices against the drill ship Nobel Discoverer and the drill rig Kulluk.
Shell said it is has made every effort to meet the EPA’s air quality permit conditions and will be working with the federal agency this year to establish conditions it says can be realistically achieved.
The Kulluk is being inspected in a sheltered harbor after grounding during severe weather on New Year’s Eve in the Gulf of Alaska.
The Nobel Discoverer remains in Seward after the U.S. Coast Guard found safety problems with that ship.
In response to the air quality violations, Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith said, “We are working with the EPA on the path forward for 2013, as we have already proposed necessary permit revisions as a result of ongoing conversations with the agency. We remain committed to minimizing the environmental footprint of our arctic offshore operations.”
The Coast Guard said it is conducting a maritime investigating into the grounding of the Kulluk. The goal they say, is putting together a complete picture of what lead up to the drill rig’s current situation.
The investigation will try to determine if there should be new factors to consider that should be addressed for future operations.
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