San Francisco: Environmental and Alaskan groups are renewing a court challenge to the 2008 government sale of Arctic drilling leases off northwest Alaska.
The groups announced on Monday that they will be taking the same tack that worked for them on two previous occasions, namely arguing that environmental analysis preceding the Chukchi Sea sale was flawed. Courts ruled in their favour each time.
But this March the US Department of Interior affirmed the Chukchi lease sale after concluding that mistakes in the analysis had been rectified.
That decision is what opened up the opportunity for Shell to plan its return to Arctic exploring and drilling, sparking anti-drilling protests especially in Seattle where Shell’s fleet is based in anticipation of heading north.
In the new court challenge the plaintiffs will say that Interior did not give enough weight to the potential damage that drilling activities could cause to Pacific walruses in the Hanna Shoal area of the Chukchi Sea.
They also plan to contend that the drilling lease contradicts the Obama administration’s vow to combat climate change.