- The plan announced in January opens the door to exploration in the Atlantic Ocean, but will limit Arctic Ocean drilling to areas outside 9.8 million sensitive acres that President Barack Obama will permanently put off-limits.
- The plan, which may change in coming months, will be sent to Congress by mid-2017. The plan proposes 14 sales, with 10 combined in the central and western Gulf of Mexico.
- One sale would be held for an Atlantic area off Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, outside a 50-mile buffer zone, no sooner than 2021. No sales are proposed for the Pacific Ocean, reflects opposition of West Coast states to new exploration. Three sales are proposed for Alaska, one each in the Cook Inlet, the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea, starting in 2020.
- The areas in the seas permanently withdrawn from potential exploration include four along the Chukchi coastline that are already off limits under the current leasing plan and adds one, Hanna Shoal, which is a feeding ground for whales and seals.
On Wednesday, June 10th a group of ten environmental organizations filed a challenge in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the approval of Shell’s exploration plan in the Arctic, which was approved by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last month.