US appeals court to consider Shell's plan to drill new deepwater wells in Gulf of Mexico

Greg Bluestein, The Associated Press

ATLANTA - A U.S. appeals court is set to hear a challenge from environmental groups seeking to block Shell from drilling 10 new deepwater wells off the coast of Alabama, one of the first drilling approvals since the disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case Wednesday brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center and other green groups.

The groups say the risky operations could result in an oil spill far greater than the 2010 disaster that leaked millions of gallons of oil into the ocean over three months. The groups also contend that federal regulators refused to conduct a detailed environmental review into the project.

Shell has argued that the company's drilling plans are environmentally sound.