Stuff the bears lets get drilling – that’s the message from oil giant Shell, which has emerged as the highest bidder for 275 lease blocks in the Chukchi sea offshore northwest Alaska. Shell’s bids amounted to $2.1 billion of the $3.4 billion bid overall.

The sale went forward over the protest of conservation and Native Alaska groups, plus objections by Congressional members outside the state, who said the federal agency, the Minerals Management Service, should have delayed the sale until a decision was made on protections for polar bears.

Shell’s vice president for exploration for the Americas, Annell Bay, said the lease sale was an opportunity to move into an undeveloped region that could help meet an increasing demand for energy. “There’s not many areas like this in the United States,” Ms. Bay said.

There’s not many places that polar bears live either Annell, or haven’t you noticed that..