Shell Clears New Hurdle for Arctic Drilling

A federal appeals court has sided with the federal government in giving the go-ahead to Shell Oil to drill in the Alaska Arctic this year.

In the ruling issued late Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges by Alaska Native groups to Shell’s exploration plan in the Beaufort Sea. The Anchorage Daily News reports ( ) the panel also denied petitions challenging the company’s plan for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

The Native Village of Point Hope and the Inupiat Community of the North Slope had asserted the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management failed to properly consider the risks of drilling in the Arctic in approving Shell’s plans.

The bureau approved Shell’s latest exploration plan for the Beaufort Sea in August.