The Latest On: Visions of the Arctic
A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Department of the Interior violated the law when it sold offshore oil and gas leases, including those on which Shell planned to drill in the Chukchi Sea off the Coast of Alaska. Earthjustice argued that the permits were issued without an adequate environmental impact assessment, given that the oil extraction estimate was too low and development was likely to be way more widespread.
Shell has revised a new plan for exploration drilling in multiple Chukchi Sea wells in Alaska. The proposal to begin drilling in 2014 was filed November 6 and is currently under review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld vital protections for Steller sea lions when it ruled against representatives of the fishing industry and the State of Alaska, and affirmed that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is accurately assessing the health of the species. The NMFS had previously found that population declines among Steller sea lions were the result of nutritional stress inflicted by commercial fishing. These findings led the agency to use the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to enforce limits on large-scale fisheries in the Aleutians.