Groups Suing to Stop Shell’s Plan to Drill in the Beaufort Sea

Environmental groups are suing to stop Shell from drilling next year in the Beaufort Sea. Last month, the Interior Department gave conditional approval to Shell’s plan to drill up to four exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea beginning in the summer of 2012.

Holly Harris is with Earthjustice. She says Shell isn’t ready to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. And she says drilling endangers the fragile wildlife in the area:

A dozen conservation groups have joined together on the lawsuit, along with the Native Village of Point Hope. Rosemarie Ahtuangaruak lives in Barrow and is a tribal liaison for Alaska Wilderness League. She also has concerns about a potential spill. And pointed out the nearest Coast Guard station is 1,000 miles away.

The agency that completed the review- the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management- is not commenting on the lawsuit. But in an interview with APRN earlier this month, BOEMRE director Michael Bromwich stood by the agency’s decision on Shell’s Beaufort Sea exploration plan. And he emphasized approval of the plan was conditional.

Bromwich says Shell will need to demonstrate they can have containment resources available to deal with a potential blow out in the Beaufort Sea.

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