Interior Approves Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plans

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The Department of Interior gave Shell the green light to begin drilling in the Arctic on Thursday, though the move is expected to prompt a legal challenge.

Enviros were hoping that the administration would take a more cautious approach to drilling there, given the disaster in the Gulf last year and the overwhelming evidence that a spill in the Arctic would be really, really bad. But with the conditional approval of the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), Shell will be allowed to drill four shallow-water wells starting in July 2012.

Reuters has more on the approval for Shell:

 

While this is a step forward in Shell’s push to tap the Arctic’s vast oil and gas reserves, the oil giant still has a long way to go before it can begin carrying out its ambitious drilling plans.

The conditional approval of the exploration plan is contingent upon Shell receiving permits from other government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Earthjustice and other environmental groups say they are assessing their options for responding to the decision, which could include a legal challenge to the permit. So while Shell is closer to drilling, it’s not quite a done deal yet.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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