Court Decision May Cloud Arctic Drilling Plans

A jack-up rig, an offshore oil and gas drilling platform, undergoes repair works at a shipyard in Singapore on March 17, 2009. Oil prices fell on Asian trade as investors continued to react to OPEC's decision to maintain its current production levels, dealers said. 
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
Ben Geman
Jan. 22, 2014, 1:20 p.m.

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the Interior Department botched an environmental analysis underpinning the 2008 sale of oil-drilling leases in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast.

The decision, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, about the sale of leases in the Chukchi Sea arrives as Royal Dutch Shell is weighing resumption of attempts to drill for oil in the region.

Bloomberg unwraps the divided decision here, noting it could delay drilling efforts by companies including Shell and ConocoPhillips that bought leases in the contested 2008 sale.

The court found that Interior wrongly based its environmental analysis on an estimate of 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil from the Chukchi leases, a figure green groups that sued the department called too low.

“[W]e agree with plaintiffs that the agency’s estimate of one billion barrels was chosen arbitrarily, and that this arbitrary decision meant that the agency based its decision on inadequate information about the amount of oil to be produced pursuant to the lease sale,” the decision states.

Shell, which is mulling another stab at drilling off the U.S. coast in the Arctic after a series of mishaps in 2012, told the Associated Press that it’s reviewing the decision.

Environmental groups cheered the ruling and quickly sought to use it as political ammunition in their campaign against Arctic drilling, which they contend is too risky.

“This decision gives the White House a chance to reconsider drilling in the Chukchi,” said National Audubon Society CEO David Yarnold, whose group is among the organizations that brought the case against Interior.

Environmentalists have urged Interior to reject Shell’s efforts to drill its existing leases in the region. They’re also calling on the Obama administration to back off plans to sell new leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska’s coast in 2016 and 2017.

What We're Following See More »
"UNLESS THE MIRACLE OF ALL MIRACLES HAPPENS"
Trump Acknowledges Khashoggi Is Dead
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump said that "unless the miracle of all miracles happens," that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead. Trump "expressed confidence in intelligence reports from multiple sources that strongly suggest a high-level Saudi role in Mr. Khashoggi’s assassination. [He] stopped short of saying the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s death."

Source:
ALLEGED ABUSE GOES BACK SEVEN DECADES
DOJ Opens Probe Against Catholic Church in Pennsylvania
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe. The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 'predator priests' in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders."

Source:
SAYS HE CONSULTED WITH POMPEO, POTUS
Mnuchin to Skip Saudi Investment Conference
15 hours ago
THE LATEST
SCENE APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN CLEANED, SANITIZED
Turks Say They Found Evidence that Khashoggi Was Killed in Embassy
2 days ago
THE LATEST
SAYS MBS CAN NEVER BE A WORLD LEADER
Graham Threatens Sanctions on Saudi Arabia
2 days ago
THE LATEST

“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as" Mohammed Bin Salman is in charge, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News today. “I’ve been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate. This guy is a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.” Graham added that he intends to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login