A group that assists in managing Eskimo whaling in Alaska has sued to halt petroleum drilling proposed next year in the Beaufort Sea by a subsidiary of Shell Oil.
The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to overturn a drilling plan approved in October by the Minerals Management Service.
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, says MMS failed to consider the cumulative effects on bowhead whales when it approved plans by Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. to drill in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast and the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast.
The groups say drilling will disrupt bowhead whale migration and that whales could be harmed by a spill.
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