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Shell plans to use the Transocean Polar Pioneer, shown here in Dutch Harbor, Alaska,  to drill in the Chukchi Sea. (Photo: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement)

Obama administration OKs Arctic drilling, but imposes big constraints on Shell

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Shell could begin work within days, but the government-imposed restrictions could keep its drill bits from reaching potential oil-bearing rock thousands of feet below the surface of the Chukchi Sea.
(Marcus Bengtsson/Creative Commons)

Environmentalists insist feds must block Shell’s Arctic drilling while icebreaker is away

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Shell is counting on the Fennica to keep ice at bay during normal drilling operations as well as any oil spill response, noted 10 environmental groups in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
The MSV Fennica (Tom Doyle/Flickr)

Damaged Arctic icebreaker’s route questioned

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Newly analyzed marine tracking data shows a Shell-contracted icebreaker may have crossed through shallow waters that offered it little clearance.
(Getty Images)

Environmentalists: Feds should shelve Shell’s Arctic plans because of walrus rules

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In a four-page letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, 10 environmental groups delivered their strongest argument yet that Shell’s exploration plan is invalid and the Interior Department would violate federal law if it issued drilling permits for Shell’s planned wells in the Chukchi Sea.
(AP Photo/U.S. Geological Survey, S.A. Sonsthagen)

Obama administration delivers big blow to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

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The Fish and Wildlife Service said it could not authorize sound from Shell’s planned drilling of wells roughly nine miles apart to disturb walruses in the Chukchi Sea, because a 2013 requirement mandates a 15-mile buffer zone.
The Polar Pioneer, a drilling rig contracted by Shell for Chukchi Sea exploration in 2015, is transported across the Pacific on the heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace)

Sea ice could keep Shell away from the Arctic until mid July

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Even if Shell wins all federal permits to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer, sea ice could block it from launching the work until late July.
Seattle's skyline provides the backdrop for the Transocean Polar Pioneer, while it is being loaded with supplies in the city's port in May 2015. Shell plans to use the rig this summer to bore an exploratory oil well at its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea, about 70 miles northwest of the Alaska coast. A separate drillship, the Noble Discoverer, is set to work on another Burger well at the same time. (Jennifer A. Dlouhy / The Houston Chronicle)

Shell’s Arctic drilling plans may hit permitting snag

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It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether the restriction highlighted by environmentalists opposed to Shell’s Arctic drilling campaign would derail the company’s plans, but it could be a major stumbling block.
A drilling rig under contract to Shell arrives in Port Angeles, Washington en route to Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where Shell hopes to drill this summer. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Court rules against environmentalists in endorsing feds’ handling of Arctic spill response plans

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Environmentalists said the ruling demonstrates federal policies need an update to ensure oil spill response plans get tougher scrutiny.
A drilling rig under contract to Shell arrives in Port Angeles, Washington en route to Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where Shell hopes to drill this summer. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Oil industry takes aim at proposed Arctic drilling mandates

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The proposed requirements would unnecessarily shorten an already brief window for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas while dramatically boosting the costs of those operations, dissuading companies from drilling in the region, industry representatives said in formal comments filed with the government.
With the Olympic Mountains in the background, the Polar Pioneer drilling rig arrives in Port Angeles, Wash., aboard a heavy-lift transport ship in April. Shell Oil Co. hopes to use the rig for exploratory drilling during the summer open-water season in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, if it can get the permits. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP, File)

Obama administration gives thumbs up to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans

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Shell moved one step closer to resuming its $6 billion quest for crude in the Arctic on Monday, with the Obama administration’s approval of its broad plan for exploratory oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska.