Court OKs Approval Of Shell Arctic Drilling Plan

Associated Press – A federal appeals court Thursday removed a legal challenge standing in the way of Shell Oil’s plans to drill exploratory wells off Alaska’s shore this summer. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a case that challenged federal approval of Shell’s exploratory drilling plans in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The expedited ruling followed oral arguments last week in Portland, Ore. The court determined that the federal Minerals Management Service met its obligations to consider the potential threat to wildlife and the risk for disaster before it approved Shell’s Arctic Ocean project. Shell Oil, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell, hopes to drill three exploratory wells in the Chukchi and two in the Beaufort this summer with a 514-foot drilling ship, the Frontier Discoverer.

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