Alaskan coastal drilling by oil companies including ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell Plc may be further delayed after a federal appeals court ruled the government acted illegally in opening almost 30 million acres on the continental shelf for oil drilling. The Sierra Club and other organizations sued the government after the $2.6 billion sale of development leases for the Chukchi Sea off the northwest coast of Alaska in 2008, saying the amount of oil from the leases was far higher than the 1 billion barrels the U.S. Interior Department estimated in an environmental review approving the sale.

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