Spill analysis planned for Arctic offshore leases

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal officials will study how a “very large oil spill” would affect the ocean off Alaska’s northwest coast as part of a court-ordered environmental review for a 2008 offshore petroleum lease sale.

U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline of Anchorage in July ruled that the federal government had failed to follow environmental law before it sold petroleum leases in the Chukchi Sea.

The lease sale brought in nearly $2.7 billion, including $2.1 billion from a subsidiary of Shell Oil. Exploratory drilling has been held up by court challenges and a lack of permits.

Federal officials said in a court filing today that a draft of the spill analysis will be completed by late May, followed by a 45-day public comment period.

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