Ninth Circus Court: Shell can't drill for oil, since it might piss off polar bears
A federal appeals court has ordered Shell Oil to stop its exploratory drilling program off the north coast of Alaska at least until a hearing in August.
The order, issued Thursday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, comes after the federal Minerals Management Service in February approved Shell's offshore exploration plan for the Beaufort Sea.
"Vessels currently located in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas shall cease all operations performed in furtherance of that program, but need not depart the area," the order said.
Opponents contend that the Minerals Management Service approved Shell's plan without fully considering that a large spill would harm marine mammals, including bowhead and beluga whales. They say polar bears could also be harmed, and they question whether cleaning up a sizable spill would even be possible in the icy waters.
As Van Helsing notes:
A hearing is planned for mid August in San Francisco to decided if Shell can go forward and provide us with some oil, after bidding $39 million for the offshore leases, and blowing who knows how much on court costs.
If not, no problem: we can just keep paying through the nose to buy oil from Arabs, who will spend the proceeds on madrasahs and weapons programs. Hopefully the polar bears and beluga whales will appreciate it.