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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2015

Contact:
Kandi Mossett: mhawea@gmail.com, 701-214-1389
Faith Gemmill: redoilone@gmail.com, 907-750-0188
Justin Finkbonner: justinfinkbonner@hotmail.com, 360-441-7832
Allison Warden: allisonwarden@gmail.com

Shell Abandons Arctic Drilling

Activists protest the Shell Oil Company’s drilling rig Polar Pioneer which is parked at Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle, Washington. Photo Credit: Jason Redmond/Reuters

September 29, 2015 – Royal Dutch Shell has announced its plans to abandon its attempts to drill for oil off Alaska’s northwest coast, citing disappointing results from exploratory wells. Native American leaders who have been campaigning against the Shell project and other extreme energy developments share their thoughts on the announcement made yesterday:

Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), based in Alaska, remarks: “This is an amazing result of the fight to defend the Arctic. Insane energy policy plans, such as Shell’s risky Arctic Drilling endeavors which promote more extraction of fossil fuels at a time of climate crisis gave birth to a peoples movement to stand up for the Earth and her finite resources. Today I honor all that took on this fight and stood with us. The fight to protect the Arctic is far from over, but this is definitely a victory for the people, especially the Inupiat who have been on the forefront of protecting the Arctic ecosystem, which sustains their ancestral whaling way of life. We hope that Royal Dutch Shell and other companies realize Arctic Drilling should be totally scrapped since the risks outweigh the benefits.”

Kandi Mossett, Native Energy & Climate Campaign Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network shares: “Today we celebrate a victory as Shell abandons its drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea; due in part to the courageous people on the ground pushing back against the corporation in the fight to protect all those in the seas who can’t speak for themselves. However, our Indigenous communities remain ever vigilant knowing the big picture fight is not over as we are mindful of our continued struggle to protect the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). We will not truly celebrate a major victory until Shell and other oil corporations drop their plans for Arctic drilling altogether, and we vow not to rest until that occurs.”

Justin Finkbonner, Community Organizer & Skipper of the Lummi Youth Canoe Family states: “The Lummi Youth Canoe Family is more than happy to hear about the news this morning to find out that Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company is removing from the Arctic, “for the time being”. With this news though, I’m afraid that Shell will go to Congress to seek funding from the taxpayers to pursue oil at a later date. We were honored to have shared paddles with the organized efforts from other environmental organizations such as leaders and fishermen from the Northern Slope territories, Chairwoman Cecile Hanson of the Duwamish Tribe, former Vice Chair Deborah Parker of Tulalip Tribes, The Back Bone Campaign, Greenpeace, Climate Solutions and even Seattle City Council Members Kshama Savant to paddle during the Shell NO Protest in Seattle.”

Allison Akootchook Warden, Iñupiaq Artist and Community Organizer remarks: “The Iñupiaq People have been in the Arctic for thousands and thousands of years, living off the land and the sea. Today, Shell pulled out of our waters, hopefully never to return. This is a huge victory for our People and our traditional ways of life. It is too risky for Shell to be in our waters, where the bowhead whale thrives and takes care of us. I am so thankful for all the work of all the people who fought Shell drilling in our fragile and beautiful environment. The Iñupiaq culture will continue to thrive as we live off of the land and ocean as our Ancestors have for thousands of years. Today is a big victory for the Iñupiaq People and my heart is overjoyed to hear about Shell’s decision to pull out. Yay hey hey!”

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