US walrus protections may derail Shell’s plan for Arctic drilling

Permit for controversial oil exploration emphasizes buffer zone meant to protect endangered wildlife sensitive to sounds of drilling

The Obama administration dealt a setback to Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, saying established walrus and polar bear protections prevent the company from drilling with two rigs simultaneously at a close range, as it had planned.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit on Tuesday which emphasized that under federal wildlife protections issued in 2013, companies must maintain a 15 mile (24 km) buffer between two rigs drilling simultaneously.

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