MUKILTEO, Wash., June 29 (UPI) -- Activists said Monday they took to the water off the Washington state coast in kayaks to try to slow progress of a Shell drilling rig bound for arctic waters.
"We know we can't stop them," Carlo Voli, a campaigner from advocacy group 350 Seattle, said in an emailed statement. "But we can't just watch them go; we have to do all we can to slow them down, and get people to focus on what a disaster Arctic drilling would be."
Voli and others pushed off from the Washington state coast to protest against the Noble Discoverer drilling rig as it leaves for the arctic waters off the coast of Alaska. Voli and several others were arrested in early June for similar action against the rig, Polar Pioneer.
Noble Discoverer suffered setbacks during a 2012 campaign off the coast of Alaska and activists said it's evidence that Shell is not prepared to handle an oil spill in the region of any degree of magnitude.
Shell is proposing as many as six wells in a region known as the Burger prospect, located in shallow waters, using the Noble Discoverer and Polar Pioneer rigs. In a statement on its website, the company said it has a commitment to protect the environment.
Alaskan oil production is in decline as many of its fields reach maturity. State and business leaders have said the Shell campaign is an important part of the future of the Alaskan energy sector.
After the first kayak protest in early June, the Consumer Energy Alliance-Alaska said it was frustrated the Alaskan economy was "being held hostage by activists from another state."