Underscoring that the Interior Department didn’t adequately measure the true environmental impact the massive oil drilling project the project could pose, a federal judge in Alaska ruled against its approval and ordered Biden administration to redo environmental reviews necessary for permits, Politico reports.
Under the ConocoPhillips Willow Project, the company would be able to extract up to 590 million barrels- about 100,000 barrels per day- from Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve over a 30-year period despite the widespread pushback from environmental activists.
US District Court for the District of Alaska’s Judge Sharon Gleason faulted the department’s Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service’s environmental assessment of the ConocoPhillips’s Willow project calling its decision to exclude levels of greenhouse gas emissions in it arbitrary and capricious.
She also called the analysis behind the assessments legally flawed in her opinion, also pointing that portions of FWS’s biological opinion on the endangered species are invalid since they lacks requisite specificity on how polar bears would be impacted by the project.
The court decision on the project also championed by Alaska’s Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan was hailed by environmental groups and Alaskan tribes with Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic’s executive director Siqiñiq Maupin underlying that the court has recognized that their land and people deserve dignity.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy, on the other hand, blasted the ‘horrible ruling’, as he called it, arguing that it outsources oil production to dictatorships & terrorist organizations by shelving major oil project on American soil.
Trustees for Alaska’s staff attorney Bridget Psarianos, which represented six plaintiffs in the case, said they’re celebrating that this winter there won’t be any construction on Willow project that envisages five wells, new gravel mine, airstrip, more than 570 miles of ice roads and nearly 320 miles of pipeline to the Alaskan landscape.