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SHELL SUES NRDC, OTHER GROUPS OVER ARCTIC DRILLING
New Limits on Pollution For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed national limits on dangerous carbon pollution from new power plants. Carbon pollution imposes staggering health costs, making heat waves more severe and worsening smog, which triggers more asthma attacks and damages children’s lungs. The new safeguards follow a years-long campaign led by NRDC, including legal challenges that yielded two Supreme Court rulings that it is EPA’s job to curb carbon pollution. Just a few years ago, 150 new coal plants were on the drawing board. Most of them have since been shelved in favor of cleaner alternatives. EPA’s latest action sends a clear signal that plans for new conventional coal plants have become obsolete.
Wind Energy Gets Big Boost NRDC and other clean-energy advocates cheered the Obama Administration after it announced plans to speed up the development of wind energy resources off the mid-Atlantic coast. The move by the Interior Department to approve “wind energy areas” from New Jersey to Virginia creates a coordinated siting and approval process that steers offshore wind projects away from environmentally sensitive areas. It promises to give new impetus to the harnessing of wind power as a clean, domestic source of energy and to produce thousands of jobs in the process.
n an extraordinary maneuver aimed at speeding its assault on the Polar Bear Seas, Royal Dutch Shell has filed suit against NRDC and a dozen other environmental groups
that challenged government permits issued to the company for exploratory drilling in the Arctic this summer. Shell fired the legal salvo after releasing a new and voluminous oil spill response plan but before NRDC experts had time to analyze it, much less challenge it. “Shell is preemptively suing because they fear we might take more legal action to protect Arctic ecosystems from the possibility of a catastrophic oil spill,” said NRDC senior attorney Niel Lawrence. “It’s an abuse of the legal system that tells you just how far Shell is willing to go to start drilling this summer.” NRDC has asked a federal court to throw out the company’s case. A series of lawsuits already filed by NRDC, Earthjustice and other groups could stop Shell’s drill ships before they begin operating. As we go to press, those ships are on their way to the Arctic Ocean, where Shell plans to drill in both the Chukchi Sea, home to more than half of America’s polar bears, and
the Beaufort Sea, off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. According to the government’s own estimates, there is a very real danger of at least one major oil spill if Shell proceeds with oil production in the Arctic. Even worse, the oil industry has no proven method for cleaning up oil in these icy waters. Says Lawrence, “We will not let Shell’s latest legal tactics stop us from defending the Polar Bear Seas against Big Oil’s onslaught.” Take action at: www.stopshell.org
Walrus © Steve Kazlowski/AlaskaStock.com
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