Appeals court rules against Arctic drilling plan

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Ruling on the first of several major new projects for tapping oil and gas deposits from the Arctic floor, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the federal government should have prepared a more exhaustive environmental review before concluding that harm to whales, caribou and other Arctic wildlife either would be insignificant or could be mitigated.

…Officials at Shell Offshore Inc., which has proposed to drill up to 12 exploratory wells in the Arctic's Beaufort Sea over the next three years, said they were convinced that the company had "met or exceeded" requirements for environmental analysis — including how noise from exploratory drilling might affect the migration patterns of fish, endangered bowhead whales and caribou, which give birth in the nearby Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.