12/08/2009 - The Interior Department on Monday gave the go-ahead for Shell Oil to begin drilling three exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea, a move that could open the door for offshore oil and gas production from a new region of the Arctic.
"This is progress," said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, calling the announcement "an encouraging sign that Alaska's oil and natural gas resources can continue to play a major role in America's energy security."
"Obviously we're disappointed," said Marilyn Heiman, the U.S. Arctic program director for the Pew Environment Group. "A spill could happen from an exploratory well just as easily as it could from a production well. They have not yet demonstrated they have the ability and the expertise to clean up an oil spill, especially in the darkness, the extreme weather and the icy conditions."
Read the full article Interior OKs Exploratory Drilling in the Chukchi Sea on the Anchorage Daily News' Web site.