The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today gave its conditional approval to Shell’s exploration plan for the Chukchi Sea next summer. The Bureau has already approved a similar plan for the Beaufort Sea. The company is proposing up to six exploration wells for the area.
Environmental groups were quick to condemn the approval today. The Alaska Wilderness League called it a “reckless decision” and says there is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic’s extreme conditions.
In a statement, Shell said the conditional approval is an important step. But the company is worried about a stipulation that could limit the duration of the drilling season, calling it an “unwarranted restriction.”