Judge halts drilling in the arctic

July 22, 2010 at 9:40 AM

JUNEAU, Alaska, July 22 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Alaska says the government failed to consider the environmental effects that oil and gas drilling would have on the arctic.

As a result, U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline has blocked plans for drilling in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Shell Oil was poised to begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea this summer.

A company statement said Shell was analyzing the ruling to see how it might impact their non-drilling work.

Beistline ruled the Interior Department violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider all the environmental effects drilling would have.

He ordered the department to revise its environmental analysis before any drilling can proceed.

Layla Hughes of the World Wildlife Fund said the ruling affirms "that the entire oil and gas leasing process in Alaska is a total mess … and the administration needs to start over."

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