Greenpeace, the activist environmental group opposed to Arctic drilling, launched a secure whistleblower website Wednesday – seeking to entice oil company workers to report dangerous practices in the race to extract vast resources from a pristine and fragile region.
"We're trying to shed as much light as possible on the realities of Arctic drilling," Christy Ferguson, Arctic project leader for Greenpeace Canada, said a few hours before the arctictruth.org site was launched.
The website is intended to shield the identities of whistleblowers as part of an effort to attract those willing to report on problems. Vaguely modeled on Wikileaks, the site is intended to protect whistleblowers but whether that will be tested in the courts remains to be seen.
"We know there have been a lot of problems with Shell and other companies and we wanted to create a way for employees to feel safe and secure," if they reported problems, Ms. Ferguson said.
Shell canceled its 2013 Arctic drilling program after both its drill ships experienced serious problems last year. Its big circular drillship Kulluk broke away as it was being towed south after the drill season and ran aground on Kodiak Island New Year's Eve. It has been taken to Asia for repairs.
Although drilling is also forecast for Canada's Arctic, especially in the Beaufort Sea, no company is ready to begin this summer.
A draft treaty setting out oil and gas drilling requirements is expected to be finalized after soon Canada takes over the helm of the Arctic Council next month.
But environmental groups like Greenpeace claim safeguards to protect the environment are seriously inadequate.
"Shell's recent experience in the Arctic has been a shambles from start to finish," Ben Ayliffe, head of Arctic oil at Greenpeace International, said in a statement. "The public needs to know about the incredible risks these companies are taking each and every day they drill in the fragile Arctic."