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Shell’s exploratory drilling mission in the Gulf of Mexico can continue

11th Circuit throws out a petition claiming the plan violates the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act

One would think that after the Deepwater Horizon spill and all of the ensuing litigation, courts might be a little wary of authorizing exploratory drilling missions in the Gulf of Mexico. But one would have another think coming, as the 11th Circuit on Friday threw out a petition seeking to stop Shell Oil from drilling in 10 exploratory wells off the coast of Alabama.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had initially approved Shell’s plan, but Defenders of Wildlife and Gulf Restoration Network challenged that decision, saying that the exploratory drilling violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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