The federal government could soon give the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Shell has spent $4 billion since 2007 to prepare for this work, and is hoping to tap into vast new deposits of oil.
But the plan to drill exploratory wells is controversial — opposed by environmental groups and some indigenous people as well.
You can get a feel for this controversy by stepping aboard the Nanuq. Shell plunked down $100 million for this 300-foot-long, Arctic-class spill-response vessel. And unlike similar vessels that serve the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico, there's no foul-smelling black smoke coming out of the stacks.