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State Asserts Itself in Federal Lawsuit Challenging OCS Exploration

March 20, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell and Attorney General Mike Geraghty announced the State of Alaska has moved to intervene in a federal appeal filed by national environmental groups, the Native Village of Point Hope, and other plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are appealing the most recent decision by a federal board upholding air permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Shell to explore federal leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. 

“We need to stop the endless federal delays,” Governor Parnell said. “Alaska’s resources, including the estimated 27 billion barrels of oil in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf, can help lead the nation to energy security, extend the life of the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for Alaskans.”

“The State of Alaska has reviewed the facts and the law and will vigorously fight for its voice to be heard in support of the air permits issued by the Environmental Protection Agency,” General Geraghty said. “The permits at issue are the most stringent the EPA has issued for OCS activities and the state joins both the EPA and Shell in defending the decision-making process. It is time to move forward.” 

Shell has been fighting to gain the necessary air permits for several years. Shell paid $2.2 billion to the federal government for leases in the Outer Continental Shelf in 2006, but has been prevented by regulatory and legal challenges from drilling even a single well.  

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