Murkowski Welcomes 9th Circuit Court Ruling on 2007 Beaufort Sea Oil and Gas Lease

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service's oil and gas lease sale in the Beaufort Sea in 2007 was valid.  

"This decision is good news for Alaska and for the nation's energy security," Murkowski said. "I've always felt that the MMS met the 'hard look' standard in their environmental assessment of the 2007 lease sale." 

The court's decision will allow Shell Alaska to move forward with plans to drill up to two exploration wells on its Beaufort Sea leases in 2010.  

"That the 9th Circuit rejected all of the claims brought is not surprising," Murkowski said. "While this is a good first step toward a balanced energy policy, I remain concerned about continued delays in exploring the vast energy potential of Alaska's outer continental shelf.” 

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