According to an EPA statement, the permit allows 120 days per year of air pollutant emissions from drilling work with Shell’s drill rig Kulluk, as well as a support fleet of icebreakers, oil spill response vessels and supply ships. The permit also limits Shell’s pollutant emissions from the project to less than 250 tons per year.
“The permit reduces Shell's potential emissions of sulfur dioxide from 833 to 10 tons per year, nitrogen oxide from 2,339 to 240 tons per year, carbon monoxide from 855 to 200 tons per year, and greenhouse gases from 141,487 to 80,000 tons per year,” the EPA said in its statement.
The EPA permit approval is one of the final steps in clearing Shell’s plans for 2012 drilling, including the drilling of up to 10 exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, which the company announced in May. An Interior Department review of the plan over the summer concluded with its clearance in September, although environmental groups questioned whether the move was politically motivated.Public appeals for review of the Shell permit must be received by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board by Nov. 28. Details on filing an appeal are listed on the board’s website.