Green and Alaskan groups to renew court challenge to Arctic drilling leases

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.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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