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NEWS BULLETIN

June 30, 2009 --- Vol. 15, No. 50June 2009

Court closes appeal against Shell’s Beaufort Sea exploration plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today dismissed as moot the appeals by the North Slope Borough, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and several environmental organizations against U.S. Minerals Management Service approval of Shell’s 2007-2009 Beaufort Sea exploration plan.

In May, after withdrawing the disputed exploration plan in advance of filing a new slimmed-down plan for proposed Beaufort Sea exploration in 2010, Shell had asked the court to dismiss the appeal against the 2007-2009 plan. And the court has now agreed with Shell’s position, given that MMS has declared the disputed plan null and void.

“The MMS rescission of its approval of the exploration plan, which was the agency action at issue in this appeal, renders petitioners’ challenge moot,” a panel of three 9th circuit judges said in today’s court order. “Accordingly, Shell’s unopposed ‘Motion to Dismiss the Appeal as Moot’ is granted.”

In November the panel of judges upheld the appeals against the exploration plan but in March the panel withdrew that decision. The panel has not provided an explanation for its withdrawal of the November decision. Nor has it issued a revised opinion in the case.

See story in July 5 issue, available online at noon, Friday, June 3, at www.PetroleumNews.com

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