Yesterday the Native Village of Point Hope and eight environmental organizations filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, appealing the U.S. Minerals Management Service approval of Shell’s 2010 exploration plan for the Chukchi Sea. Shell plans to drill up to three wells in the Chukchi during the 2010 open water season.
The MMS analysis of the environmental impacts of Shell’s planned activities was “sorely lacking,” said Earthjustice, a law firm that represents environmental groups.
“The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service approved drilling in the Chukchi Sea after doing only an abbreviated and internal review of its potential harms and despite significant concerns surrounding Shell’s oil leases,” Earthjustice said.
But Shell today defended the MMS decision.
“It’s our belief the MMS was thorough it its technical and environmental evaluation of our 2010 Chukchi exploration plan and that Shell has demonstrated its ability to operate in the Arctic in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Shell spokesman Curtis Smith. “A tremendous amount of work went into writing and evaluating this permit and we fully expect the MMS to be successful in defending its approval.”
See story in Jan. 24 issue, available online at noon, Friday, Jan. 22 at www.PetroleumNews.com