Congress Calls for Investigation After Drilling Rig Runs Aground

By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer
January 6, 2013; 8:23 AM ET
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Photo courtesy of the United States Coast Guard.

After a Shell drilling rig ran aground on Tuesday in the icy waters of Alaska, members of congress are pushing for an investigation of the company's Arctic offshore drilling operations.

According to the Associated Press, "The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition called on the Interior Department and the Coast Guard to jointly investigate the New Year's Eve grounding of the Shell drill vessel Kulluk on a remote Gulf of Alaska Island, and a previous incident connected to Arctic offshore drilling operations in 2012."

The rig ran aground on New Year's Day after tugs struggled to maintain control over it while a severe storm passed over the Arctic. Swells as high as 35 feet and winds gusting to 55 miles per hour made for a treacherous situation.

As the weather calmed, salvage crews were lowered by helicopter onto the vessel to check for damage and possible spillage. The team reported that the rig, which is carrying more than 140,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid, remains upright and intact.

It has not yet been determined when the vessel will be moved from its current location near Sitkalidak Island.


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