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
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.
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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