May 14, 2010 9:47 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Court OKs approval of Shell Arctic drilling plan

An environmental group challenging Shell Oil's plans to drill exploratory wells off Alaska's coast calls a federal appeals court decision disappointing, given the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico spill. A federal appeals court in Portland, Oregon ruled that the federal government met its obligations to consider the potential threat to wildlife and the risk for disaster before it approved the project.

Environmental groups say oil companies are increasing risk by going for deep water oil. And they contend Shell would be ill-equipped to deal with a spill similar to BP's in Arctic waters.

A Shell spokesman says the exploration plan has concluded that a large oil spill would be rare.

A poll released earlier this week shows that 59 percent of American still favor oil drilling, in spite of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


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