Oil-drilling uproar

Environmentalists say Shell ignored key details in its plans to drill in the Arctic Ocean

The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, Alaska-native groups and other environmentalists are making it difficult for Shell Oil to follow through with its pricey, years-long plan to start exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean in July, according to The Associated Press.

The environmental groups came forward in early May to ask the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Portland, Ore., to reconsider allowing Shell to follow through with its plans, claiming that the Minerals Management Service—an entity of the U.S. Department of the Interior—failed to consider the impact drilling could have on whale feeding patterns when it approved the oil company’s plans last year.

The environmental groups have also claimed the management service did not require Shell to specify how the company would deal with a potential emergency such as a spill, and some have cited the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a worst-case-scenario comparison of how inadequate planning can be environmentally catastrophic.