Government begins process of reviewing Shell's Arctic drilling plan; decision within 30 days

The federal government on Friday began the review process on Royal Dutch Shell's plans to continue a drilling program it halted in 2012 in Arctic waters off Alaska's northern shore.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has 30 days to analyze the plan to determine if Shell can move forward. The public will have until April 20 to comment on environmental aspects and until May 1 to comment on the overall plan.

Shell wants to restart its drilling program in the Chukchi (CHUCK'-chee) Sea, including drilling six wells in shallow water located about 125 miles east of Barrow, the nation's northernmost community. It intends to use two drilling ships, which will provide relief for each other.

Shell hasn't drilled off Alaska since a drill rig was grounded in 2012.