EPA Fines Shell for Clean Air Act Permit Violations during Offshore Oil Exploration in Alaska
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. and Shell Offshore, Inc. for violations of their Clean Air Act permits for arctic oil and gas exploration drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, off the North Slope of Alaska.
Based on EPA’s inspections and Shell’s excess emission reports, EPA documented numerous air permit violations for Shell’s Discoverer and Kulluk drill ship fleets, during the approximately two months the vessels operated during the 2012 drilling season.
Shell has agreed to pay a $710,000 penalty for violations of the Discoverer air permit and a $390,000 penalty for violations of the Kulluk air permit.
EPA issued the Clean Air Act Outer Continental Shelf permits for Shell’s operations in early 2012. The permits set emission limits, pollution control requirements, and monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements on the vessels and their support fleets of icebreakers, spill response vessels, and supply ships.
In January 2013, EPA issued violation notices for Shell’s Discoverer and Kulluk air permits. Shell did not operate in 2013 under the air permits.