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Soundings Archive

Slazar Approves Shell's Oil and Gas Exploration Plan for Chukchi
In a press release dated December 7, 2009, the U.S. Minerals Management Service announced that U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar "has approved, with conditions, Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.'s Exploration Plan to drill three exploratory, information-gathering wells in the Chukchi Sea." The Chukchi is off Alaska.

MMS' press release says that approving Shell's Chukchi Plan is consistent with "reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil." The Plan allows Shell to drill up to three exploration wells. The well closest to shore is more than 60 miles from shore and 80 miles from Wainwright, Alaska. Shell paid MMS over 400 million dollars for the right to drill these wells.

Oil and gas exploration in the Chukchi is controversial and has been the subject of litigation. Potential effects on whales and other marine mammals is one of the controversial issues.

  • Click here to read MMS Press Release

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