The North Slope Borough and Earth Justice have both appealed the air quality control minor permits for Shell’s planned drilling operations in the Beaufort Sea to the Environmental Appeals Board. The permits will not now go into effect, pending an appeals board hearing, Dan Meyer from EPA’s Seattle office told Petroleum News today.
Meyer said that this type of appeal typically takes several months to process but that it was possible that the appeals board might expedite the appeals in this case.
In early June the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued separate permits for the Kulluk and Frontier Discoverer, the two drill ships that Shell plans to use to drill the Sivulliq prospect, formerly Hammerhead, on the western side of Camden Bay. But people who commented on the draft permits prior to permit issue had until July 16 to appeal the EPA decision.
In its petition to the appeals board, the North Slope Borough said that EPA had based its decision on “erroneous, unsupported or inappropriate data and factors,” and that the agency should have considered the combined environmental impact of both drill ships, rather than issuing a separate permit for each ship.
Earth Justice represents several environmental groups, including Redoil and Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Meyer said.