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Energy Current: EPA proposes minor permit for Shell’s Arctic drilling

Filed from Houston
2/26/2008 10:52:10 PM GMT
USA/ALASKA: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed that an air quality permit be issued to Shell Offshore that would regulate air emissions from the Kulluk floating Arctic drilling rig. Shell wants to use the Kulluk rig to explore for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska.

The EPA has determined that air emissions authorized by the permit would not adversely affect the health of those in nearby Arctic communities. The “minor” permit limits emissions of any single air pollutant to 245 tons per year for activities associated with the drill site. Without the limit set by the permit, the drilling project could trigger “major” permitting, which requires a more rigorous permitting process and technology review.

Shell originally applied for two minor permits, but recently scaled back drilling plans in the Beaufort Sea to one rig due to a court order blocking the plans. The Environmental Appeals Board of the EPA also appealed the two permits and ordered the EPA to provide a basis for its decision to treat individual drill sites separated by 1,640 feet (500 m) as separate minor sources, or modify its source determination. The EPA modified its determination as to what constitutes a single stationary source, revised the ambient air impact analysis, and added or modified permit terms and conditions. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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