Royal Dutch Shell PLC is suing in federal court more than a dozen environmental organizations that are likely to challenge its plans for drilling Alaska’s Arctic Ocean this summer, an unprecedented preemptive move aimed at avoiding potentially costly delays.
The suit names the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and 10 other organizations that oppose drilling in the Arctic or believe Shell’s oil response plan is insufficient. These organizations have filed lawsuits and appeals in the past challenging the U.S. offshore leasing program offshore Alaska.
Shell said it already has invested more than $4 billion purchasing leases in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea, in 2005 and 2008, respectively, without being able to drill a single well. Both areas are considered among the last frontier areas in North America with potential to hold significant source for oil and gas. The leases have an expiration term of 10 years.