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Shell is again looking north to the Arctic for oil drilling come next year. The company plans to postpone its operations in the Beaufort Sea, but is hoping to open up drilling activities in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea in 2014, according to E&E News.

Yet, just last year, Shell spent $5 billion on a campaign to explore the Arctic for oil — a campaign that encountered a number of problems. The oil exploration expedition ultimately failed due to equipment troubles, weather conditions, and air quality violations (which Shell paid $1.1 million in fines for).

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Take a look at some of the problems Shell encountered last year in the Arctic with the timeline below provided by the Wilderness Society.

With these issues in mind, it’s difficult to envision a safe oil exploration occurring in the Arctic. Even if Shell was successful safety-wise at first, there could easily be problems down the line with oil extraction in such a fragile environment.

The Arctic environment and its species are already in danger with rapidly disappearing ice. According to Polar Bears International, scientists predict that the Arctic will see a mostly ice-free summer by 2040 if action is not taken to protect the area.

What’s also troubling about Shell’s announcement is that the company plans to use a decades-old drill rig owned by Transocean, the same Swiss contractor who operated the disastrous Deepwater Horizon rig, reports the Wilderness Society.

We can’t afford any more mistakes or environmental disruptions. Stand up to Big Oil and tell them hands off the Arctic. Call, write or email the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and urge them to protect the Arctic today and prohibit oil leases in the area.

Need help with what to say? Use the Wilderness Society’s email template to aide you in your correspondence.

Image source: Patrick Kelley / Wikipedia Commons

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