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Shell Arctic Drilling Plans Blocked

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 2/3/14

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Reprinted from http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15918

Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea have been handed a major setback by a U.S appeals court which ruled that the Department of the Interior had underestimated the potential environment impact. The courts ordered the federal government to do a new assessment.

Judge William Fletcher of the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco ruled that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimate that Shell would only extract one billion barrels was far too low. In the court opinion that Fletcher authored, he said that the numbers were "arbitrary and capricious" and ordered the agency to re-do the environmental analysis based "on the full range of likely production if oil production were to occur."

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The ruling came as a result of a January 2010 lawsuit brought by a coalition of native and environmental groups after the U.S. government auctioned off millions of acres in the Chukchi Sea to oil and gas development in 2008. Shell was awarded the concession after bidding $2.6 billion.

"It makes no sense to open up the fragile, irreplaceable and already melting Arctic Ocean to risky drilling for dirty oil that will only exacerbate climate change already wreaking havoc on the Arctic and elsewhere," said Erik Grafe, an attorney at Earthjustice, an environmental group that led the lawsuit.

Other plaintiffs included the Native Village of Point Hope, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oceana, Pacific Environment, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and World Wildlife Fund.

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CorpWatch: Non-profit investigative research and journalism to expose corporate malfeasance and to advocate for multinational corporate accountability and transparency. We work to foster global justice, independent media activism and democratic control over corporations.

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