"Shell's Chukchi Sea Drill Plan OK'd Despite Pending Lawsuit"

"The federal Minerals Management Service has approved a controversial plan by Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. to drill up to three exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea on leases it purchased in 2008.

'A key component of reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil is the environmentally-responsible exploration and development of America's renewable and conventional resources,' said Ken Salazar Tuesday. As Secretary of the Interior, he has jurisdiction over the Minerals Management Service.

Pointing out that the Houston-based Shell subsidiary paid $2.1 billion for its leases during Chukchi Sea Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193, Salazar said, 'By approving this Exploration Plan, we are taking a cautious but deliberate step toward developing additional information on the Chukchi Sea.'

The 2008 sale was included in the Bush administration's 2007-2012 Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program to cover leasing for oil and gas in the Outer Continental Shelf. The Exploration Plan now approved allows Shell to drill up to three exploration wells during the July-October open water drilling season."

Environment News Service had the story December 9, 2009.

Source: ENS, 12/10/2009