EPA Moves Forward on Alaskan Offshore Drilling

by Myron Ebell on July 2, 2011

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The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released draft Clean Air Act permits for Shell’s planned oil exploration in federal offshore waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, which are parts of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska.  The draft permits are subject to public comment and will undoubtedly be litigated by environmental pressure groups.

Shell has been trying for more than four years to drill in 10-year lease tracts for which it paid the federal government more than $2 billion.  Shell has also invested well over $1 billion in building the infrastructure that offshore exploratory drilling requires.  If oil is discovered, then Shell would make huge further investments to begin production and connect the fields to the Trans Alaska Pipeline.  Shell would pay a royalty to the federal treasury for every barrel produced.

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