A coalition of groups filed an appeal today in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the approval of Lease Sale 193, which opened for oil drilling the remote Chukchi Sea, home to iconic species such as polar bear, bowhead whale, and walrus and to a vibrant indigenous subsistence culture.
There are widely recognized gaps in what we know about nearly every species in the Chukchi Sea, including beluga whales. (Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com)
The appeal, filed by Alaska Native and conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, is the next step in their long‐standing effort to ensure that decisions about the Chukchi Sea are based on sound science and precaution.
The lease sale was originally held in 2008 by the Bush administration. The Alaska Federal District Court in 2010 determined that the original lease sale violated the National Environmental Protection Act, one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws, and required the Department of Interior to reconsider the decision. Last fall, the Obama administration affirmed the decision to offer millions of acres of the ocean for sale to oil companies despite widely recognized gaps in what we know about nearly every species in the Chukchi Sea.