Environmentalists join Natives in drilling suit


Native Alaskan groups who depend on whaling and a coalition of environmental groups sued the federal government Tuesday, seeking to block a Shell Oil subsidiary from drilling next year in the Beaufort Sea.

The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, a federally recognized tribal government representing Alaska North Slope communities, asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a drilling plan the Minerals Management Service approved in October.

Hours later, a coalition of 10 environmental groups and Arctic communities filed a second action with the San Francisco court, claiming the MMS did not properly evaluate the effects of the proposed drilling, including the risk of a major spill.