Shell Begins Alaska Coast Cleanup (Satire)

May 18, 2010 08:59 – 08:59

Officials at Shell Oil today announced the start of a massive cleanup on the northern coast of Alaska, well ahead of drilling slated to begin this summer, far out in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. The cleanup area spans over 1,000 miles of coastline from Point Hope at the west to the Alaska-Yukon border—the boundary between the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Canada’s Iwavik National Park.

What is most remarkable about the cleanup, however, is that the spill hasn’t happened—yet.

“We like to stay ahead of the curve,” said Richard Palin (no relation to Sarah), who is supervising the unprecedented cleanup effort. “We see ourselves as stewards of the environment.”

When asked what they’re cleaning up, Palin said “Oil futures. We look at it this way. If we wait until there’s an actual spill, it’s going to be a lot harder. I mean, hell. Have you ever seen what crude can do a coastline? You don’t want to deal with that crap. If we clean it now—before the spill—it will take just a month and will cost only manpower and transportation to clean up 1,000 miles of coastline. If we wait for the spill, it will take equipment and technology we don’t even have, and years to clean up just a tenth of that.”

The cleanup plan includes over flight of the area in small planes and helicopters, and the use of satellite images. When oil is spotted, a crew is dispatched to the area for cleanup. In the first leg from Point Hope to Point Lay, which has already been completed, no newly-spilled oil was found. While they are finding crude oil and tar still remaining from the Exxon Valdez spill from 21 years ago, they will not be cleaning that up. “That’s Exxon’s problem—not ours,” said Palin, who pointed out Exxon’s folly in not doing a preemptive cleanup.

Shell has also begun water cleanup to remove oil that is expected to gush from drilling sites in the seismically active area. Palin showed a PowerPoint presentation that included pictures of a mile-square filtration net—”a giant strainer”—designed to filter seawater. It catches seaweed, fish, and sea ice, which Palin said “demonstrates the effectiveness of the technology.” Palin declined to respond to Greenpeace criticism of the plan, which labeled it as “full of holes.”

The drill sites are home to endangered whales and other animals living in the area. Palin also declined to respond to reports that Shell will begin to relocate endangered whales, walruses, and other animals to the Antarctic, referring reporters to Shell’s director of wildlife management and preservation, Pablo Palin (no relation to Richard or Sarah). “Our goal is to protect Mother Nature and her children, while preserving our energy independence—the costs be damned,” Pablo Palin said. “We’re not in this for the money.” The cost of relocation efforts will be funded in part by sales of ivory harvested from walruses and narwhals that are expected to die during the relocation effort.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.