By Lana Birbrair (May 29, 2012, 7:00 PM EDT) -- The Ninth Circuit on Friday rejected environmental groups' challenges to permits issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, allowing Shell Offshore Inc. to begin an exploratory oil drilling project off the coast of Alaska.
In a published opinion addressing two cases challenging Shell's permits, the Ninth Circuit rejected expedited petitions for review by environmental groups that had challenged federal regulators' approval of Shell's plan to drill oil exploration wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in Alaska.
The BOEM had approved Shell's proposal to drill up to four shallow-water exploration wells in the Beaufort Sea beginning in July 2012....
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