Alaska Sues Feds To Lift Arctic Drilling Suspension

09/09/2010 05:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell says the state is suing to overturn the federal suspension of offshore drilling in Arctic Ocean waters.

In May, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar suspended Shell Oil's request to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and he canceled four Arctic lease sales.

Parnell says Salazar illegally failed to consult with state officials, consider the economic effects or issue a written decision explaining the basis for a moratorium.

Salazar spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff says the Interior Department is taking a cautious approach to offshore petroleum development. She says the Arctic presents unique environmental challenges and the department needs additional information about spill risks and spill response capabilities.