Shell Oil cleared one of the last remaining hurdles to Arctic offshore drilling Friday as the federal government said it has approved the company's spill response plan for the Chukchi Sea.
Environmentalists and Alaska Natives living along the Arctic Coast have bitterly opposed drilling. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a prepared statement that the federal government was taking a cautious approach.
"In the Arctic frontier, cautious exploration - under the strongest oversight, safety requirements, and emergency response plans ever established - can help us expand our understanding of the area and its resources," Salazar said.
- Associated Press