The parties in the appeal case against the validity of the 2008 Chukchi Sea lease sale in which Shell, ConocoPhillips, Statoil and others bought leases have told the federal District Court in Alaska that they have jointly agreed that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management should rework the environmental impact statement for the sale. Chukchi sea leases should be suspended until the rework has been completed and until BOEM has made a revised decision on holding the sale, the parties say.
However, the Native Village of Point Hope and the 12 environmental organizations that appealed the lease sale disagree with BOEM and Shell, an intervener in the case, over several issues, including the possibility of allowing ancillary lease-related activities to proceed and allowing BOEM to review Chukchi Sea exploration plans before the revised lease-sale decision is made, the parties in the case said in an April 18 court filing.
BOEM and Shell had previously recommended the rework of the environmental impact statement as an appropriate response to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, upholding the appeal on the grounds of an inadequate environmental analysis for the lease sale. However, the plaintiffs in the case declined participation in that recommendation, saying they needed more time to confer. However, on April 10 District Court Judge Ralph Beistline ordered the parties in the case to submit a joint response to the decision by the 9th Circuit court by April 18.
See story in April 27 issue, available online at 11 a.m., Friday, April 25 at www.PetroleumNews.com