Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that it was "highly likely" that the agency would grant Shell permits to begin drilling exploratory wells off the North Slope of Alaska as early as next month. Mr. Salazar said he believed the company's claims that it could collect at least 90 percent of any oil spilled in the event of a well blowout.
"Secretary Salazar says there's not going to be an oil spill. That's astonishing," said Holly Harris, a staff attorney with Earthjustice based in Juneau, Alaska. "No oil company has ever come close to cleaning up 90 percent of spilled oil in the open ocean. The administration is hoping for the best but not preparing for the worst."
Obama administration grants Keystone XL pipeline permit in Texas. The Corps of Engineers are still reviewing permits for other sections of the pipeline. http://nyti.ms/NMT8AC
The Interior Department also conducted a major oil and gas lease sale for the Gulf of Mexico this month, attracting $1.7 billion in bids. The administration has also issued a number of permits for major natural gas, solar and wind projects on public lands. http://nyti.ms/NMTOWC