Posted on August 17, 2014 at 9:10 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy,
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is closer than ever to imposing the first minimum standards for oil and gas activity in U.S. Arctic waters, as Shell pursues permits that could allow it to resume drilling in the region next year.
The Interior Department sent a draft of those Arctic regulations to the Office of Management and Budget on Friday, marking the launch of an interagency review process that typically spans months. The rule’s arrival at OMB was disclosed online by Sunday evening.
Conservationists say the standards are urgently needed to ensure oil and gas companies working in the remote and unforgiving Arctic use ice-worthy vessels and have enough emergency equipment stashed nearby. A government advisory panel offered similar recommendations in 2013.