Chevron's drill ship is poised to begin exploratory oil drilling in the remote deep water Lagavulin site west of Shetland as soon as the government gives them permission. And that could happen later today.
Our activists on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza have done all they can over the last week to stop the Stena Carron drill ship from getting to Lagavulin, now we urgently need your help to put direct pressure on the UK government to stop the drilling.
The site Chevron wants to start drilling lies 1,569 metres below the sea. That's far beyond the depth of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig. The delicate ecosystem at Lagavulin, which is home to dolphins and many other species, would be devastated by an oil spill.
For the last month we've been telling the government that Chevron's three page environmental assessment for drilling is woefully inadequate. Yesterday the government released detailed information supplied by Chevron about the possible impacts of drilling at Lagavulin.
At first glance some of the things Chevron is saying about the limited impacts of a spill in Lagavulin are extraordinary. Chevron says the affects of a spill on whales and dolphins is not something to worry about because "whilst a number of marine mammals may be present in the area, given their good swimming abilities, relative intelligence and nomadic behaviour, some avoidance behaviour could be expected."
Given the volume of the new information from Chevron, and the bizarre assertions it contains, we think it's entirely unreasonable for the government to give Chevron permission to begin drilling today.
We have yet to learn the full consequences of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, but already we know that a spill in UK waters would be disastrous for these fragile habitats, and in the long term our continued dependence on oil will seriously hamper our ability to tackle climate change and undermine our economic stability.