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State Granted Intervention in Off-Shore Drilling Litigation

Anchorage, Alaska - The State of Alaska has been granted the right to intervene in a case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concerning plans by Shell to proceed with exploration for oil in the Beaufort Sea.

Several environmental groups are challenging the decision by the Minerals Management Service to allow development of the Outer Continental Shelf. But the state contends that the federal agency adequately considered the impacts of oil drilling on the Arctic ecosystem and on subsistence activities.

"The state's intervention is critical because no other party will vigorously represent our interests," said Attorney General Dan Sullivan. "This is part and parcel of the administration's commitment to foster resource development and promote job growth."

The Outer Continental Shelf contains an estimated 27 billion barrels of recoverable oil and an estimated 130 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, "making it of critical importance not just to the Alaska economy but also to America's energy security," the attorney general said.

He noted that Shell's exploration plan includes extensive mitigation measures intended to protect whales, subsistence and the environment.

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