Yesterday, environmental and Alaska Native groups filed a petition for review in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of MMS's approval of Shell Offshore's plans to drill two exploration wells in Alaska's Beaufort Sea. The groups argue that MMS failed to ensure that the drilling of these wells could occur safely and failed to adequately evaluate the impacts on marine mammals. Before exploratory drilling takes place, Shell must obtain an Application for Permit to Drill from MMS, and its plans must be consistent with the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program, as well as various air and water quality rules. The petitioners' brief is due March 5, 2010. The case is Native Village of Point Hope v. Salazar, No. 09-73942.