Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic prospecting plans have sparked two new lawsuits. An alliance of environmental and Alaska-based community groups is challenging the sale of leases in the Chukchi Sea. The second suit takes issue with Shell’s exploration plan, which was recently approved by a federal agency.
Eric Grafe is with Earthjustice, which filed the suit against Shell’s Arctic exploration plan in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Grafe is representing ten other groups, including the Alaska Wilderness League, Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth.
The plan recently got a green light from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
“The specific plan that Shell’s developed was approved very quickly, in 30 days, with just a very cursory environmental review,” said Grafe.
He says Shell’s record in the Arctic was already bad after its failed attempts to explore there in 2012, with one drilling rig, the Kulluk, running aground and totaled, and another catching fire.
The company subsequently paid more than a million dollars for air pollution violations and its main contractor pled guilty for felony convictions and paid $12 million in fines.