"WASHINGTON -- Critics want a halt to offshore Arctic drilling in the wake of Shell's latest mishap in the waters off Alaska but there's no sign the Obama administration and key members of Congress are backing off their support for drilling in the sensitive region."
"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar let Shell begin preparatory drilling in Alaska's Arctic waters this summer, the first time in two decades. Environmental groups on Thursday called for the administration to immediately stop all permitting for Arctic offshore oil exploration as a result of Monday's grounding of Shell's drilling rig off Kodiak Island. But Salazar isn't willing to put the permits on hold.
'The administration understands that the Arctic environment presents unique challenges and that's why the secretary has repeatedly made clear that any approved drilling activities will be held to the highest safety and environmental standards,' Salazar spokesman Blake Androff said Thursday. 'The department will continue to carefully review permits for any activity and all proposals must meet our rigorous standards.'
Salazar has not given Shell permission to drill deep enough to actually hit oil. The company hopes to get that approval this summer."