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Shell one step closer to resuming exploration in the Chukchi Sea

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 09.31.18From an article by Tim Bradner published by Alaska Journal of Commerce on 12 Feb 2015 under the headline:

“One regulatory hurdle cleared for Arctic OCS drilling”

Shell is officially one step closer to resuming exploration in the Chukchi Sea. On Thursday the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released its final supplemental environmental impact statement for a 2008 Chukchi Sea Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale.

It is a move that is hoped to clear legal and regulatory hurdles facing Arctic offshore drilling.

The document was published on schedule after the draft SEIS was completed last fall. A Record of Decision will likely be issued in 30 days, which will allow BOEM to resume work on Shell’s revised exploration plan for the Chukchi Sea, BOEM said in a statement.

 “Alaska is a critical component of our nation’s energy portfolio, and the Chukchi Sea has substantial oil and gas potential, as well as sensitive marine and coastal resources that Alaska Native communities depend on for subsistence,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in the statement.

“The updated analysis is a major step toward resolving the 2008 oil and gas leases that have been tied up in the courts for years. We remain committed to taking a thoughtful and balanced approach to oil and gas leasing and exploration in this unique, sensitive and often challenging environment.”

Environmental groups reacted harshly to the EIS release.

“It is unconscionable that the federal government is willing to risk the health and safety of the people and wildlife that live near and within the Chukchi Sea for Shell’s profits Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Marissa Knodel. There is no such thing as safe or responsible drilling in the Arctic Ocean — Shell’s record of recklessness and the federal government’s own environmental analysis show that approval of Lease Sale 193 would be unsafe, dangerous and irresponsible.”

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