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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Earthjustice is heading to court to challenge federal approval of Shell Oil’s plan to drill in the Alaskan Arctic’s Beaufort Sea.

Earthjustice - Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer

Dear Tenney,
arctic-shell-44.jpgThanks to you [just a tiny little bit], Earthjustice is heading to court to challenge federal approval of Shell Oil’s plan to drill in the Alaskan Arctic’s Beaufort Sea.
After the devastating Deepwater Horizon spill, President Obama wisely delayed plans by Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic Ocean. But this August, the administration reversed course and approved the first part of the most aggressive Arctic drilling proposal in the history of the country by approving Shell’s plan to start drilling in the Beaufort Sea as early as the summer of 2012. 
Yesterday, Earthjustice initiated litigation in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Alaska Native and conservation groups challenging the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement’s (BOEMRE) decision to allow this reckless drilling in the Arctic.
According to our Alaska-based attorney on the case, Holly Harris:
"BOEMRE is allowing Shell to drill even though the company has no credible plan to cleanup an oil spill in the Arctic’s icy waters, and instead just asserts it can clean up 95 percent of oil spilled.  Let’s look at the facts: in the Deepwater Horizon cleanup, with a massive response and no Arctic ice to hamper them, crews skimmed up only 3 percent of the oil. Now is not the time for a 'just trust us' approach to Arctic drilling.”

A spill in the Arctic Ocean would devastate polar bears, seals, bowhead whales and other marine mammals and would severely affect Native subsistence communities which have thrived in this region for generations.
U.S. Coast Guard officials have repeatedly explained that the resources to clean up an oil spill in the waters of the Arctic Ocean simply don’t exist. This summer, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp told Congress that the federal government has “zero” spill response capability in the Arctic. 
Further, as a recent report by the government’s leading scientists highlights, basic scientific information about nearly every aspect of the Arctic Ocean ecosystem is missing. This lack of data makes it impossible to adequately assess the risks and impacts of drilling to wildlife and people in the Arctic and, as a result, makes it impossible to make informed, science-based decisions. 
Thanks to you and others like you, Earthjustice has consistently held the line against dangerous offshore oil drilling in the Arctic.
We hope you continue to stand by our work now and in the fight to come.
Trip Van Noppen Trip Van Noppen
Trip Van NoppenPresident, Earthjustice

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