Editorial: Putting off shore drilling in Alaska on hold for now
"The Department of the Interior last week asked Shell Alaska to report by May 18 on what additional safety precautions it will take for drilling off Alaska's Arctic shore this summer. Then it announced that Shell's plans were included in the hold on any new offshore drilling until at least May 28. That's when Interior is due to report on what went wrong with the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico and what should be done to prevent something similar from happening again. This just makes sense.

Shell's Arctic work won't entail the same risks that attend deep drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. But the Arctic has its own severe challenges -- primarily distance and ice. Shell has prepared for them. But the administration -- and Alaskans and the rest of the country -- want to be sure that preparation is adequate.

And here we're talking about prevention more than response.

It's simple. Interior is watching what's unfolding in the Gulf and then looking to Shell and asking, "What's the risk in the Arctic, and what more can you do to reduce it?""

Get the Story:
Our view: Drilling on hold (The Anchorage Daily News 5/12)

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