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February 29, 2008 --- Vol. 14, No. 28February 2008

NSB and AEWC appeal court ruling on Beaufort lease sale

The North Slope Borough and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission have appealed the U.S. District Court in Alaska’s Jan. 8 ruling upholding the validity of the U.S. Minerals Management Service’s April 2007 Beaufort Sea lease sale. NSB and AEWC had asked the court to rescind oil and gas leases issued in the sale on the grounds that MMS had not supplemented a 2003 environmental impact statement in preparation for the 2007 sale.

“I believe we were right when we asked the court to require MMS to update its environmental analysis using realistic numbers,” said North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta in a Feb. 27 statement regarding the new appeal. “Maybe it’s okay with the feds if they do a sloppy job of preparing for development, but it’s not okay with us. These leases are right on top of the whale migration, and if something goes wrong, it’s our culture and our people who suffer.”

In its Jan. 8 ruling the court had said that MMS had adequately considered whether a supplement to the 2003 EIS was required, but NSB and AEWC say that he 2003 EIS contains “flawed data and shoddy analysis.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: For the complete story see the March 9 edition of Petroleum News, available to subscribers online at noon, Friday March 7.

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