Commandant declares he has faith in Shell’s oil spill preparations.
The Coast Guard is ready for expanded activity in Arctic waters, including petroleum exploration and drilling, even though the nearest Coast Guard base is more than 750 miles southwest of the Bering Strait on Kodiak Island, Commandant Robert Papp told a U.S. Senate subcommittee Monday.
“For right now, we are well prepared, because like we always do traditionally, we have multimission assets that we can deploy, that are very capable, and that are sufficient for the level of human activity that’s going on this summer and perhaps for the next three or four summers,” Papp told the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, conducted the hearing in a hangar at Air Station Kodiak at the request of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. The subcommittee discussed what other resources the Coast Guard will need as melting summer sea ice opens more of the Arctic to cargo vessels, ecotourism and possibly commercial fishing. Landrieu said climate models indicate the Arctic Ocean could be free of summer ice after 2030.
“This is an extraordinary change on our planet and we must be ready for it,” she said.