Offshore project managers need to be prepared for the various legal entanglements they may find themselves in while trying to operate a platform. The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported on combined legal action taken by several groups to challenge a statute regarding walrus protection in the area.

According to the source, these protesting groups believe that the current policy towards walruses doesn't grant them enough security. The consortium of six different groups, which includes Greenpeace and the Alaska Wilderness League, argues that oil activity in the area could potentially limit the already small area that walrus in the Chukchi Sea have to rest and search for food during their seasonal migration. Current legislation supports a "five year" rule, but the motion would change that and have it be more based on the current ecosystem.

The lawsuit has been taken to Washington D.C. and is targeting the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Erik Grafe, the attorney for one of the co-plaintiffs Earthjustice, said that they are trying to persuade the Department to change its policies to be fairer to local wildlife. Thirty-five thousand walruses were reported to have arrived at the northwest part of the country this year.

"What we're looking for is a rule to be vacated because the agency is trying to have it both ways," he said. "These oil company activities in their critical feeding areas will just add to their woes," he added later.

As the agency reviews its current operations, oil and gas professionals should review their own standards and adjust them to fit the environments where they operate. With the right preparations, companies will prevent clashing with different groups and legislation.

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