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NEWS BULLETIN

February 13, 2012 --- Vol. 18, No. 9February 2012

District court dismisses appeal against Chukchi Sea lease sale

Federal Judge Ralph Beistline today dismissed the appeal in the federal District Court in Alaska against the 2008 Chukchi Sea lease sale in which Shell, ConocoPhillips, Statoil and other companies purchased oil and gas leases. Shell wants to start drilling in some of its leases this summer.

In 2008 the Native Village of Point Hope, the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope and 12 environmental organizations appealed the environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the lease sale. And, following a court ruling requiring the Department of the Interior to rework the EIS, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management published a supplementary EIS in October 2011, with the agency claiming that it had fulfilled the court’s mandate.

However, the appellees in the case claimed that the new EIS was also deficient, saying that the government had failed to adequately address concerns about missing environmental data, and also raising concerns about potential greenhouse gas generation from Chukchi Sea oil.

But Beistline has rejected the plaintiffs’ claims, saying that, in publishing the revised EIS, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had complied with all applicable laws and had “adequately considered and disclosed the environmental impact of the development of Lease Sale 193 (the 2008 Chukchi Sea lease sale).”

“This matter is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” Beistline said.

—Alan Bailey

See story in Feb. 19 issue, available online at 11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 17 at www.PetroleumNews.com

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