Alaskan judge rejects Trump-era approval of Arctic oil project

A U.S. federal judge has ruled in favor of a Trump-led oil project in northern Alaska.

In a 110-page decision, Judge Sharon Gleason revoked the licenses of Konko Phillips, Alaska’s largest crude oil producer, for violating the National Environmental Policy (NEPA) and Disaster Risk Reduction Act. ESA) The court’s decision to exclude foreign greenhouse gas emissions in its environmental impact statement is “arbitrary and malicious.” The U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service’s accidental statement also concluded that it was unnecessary to reduce the number of polar bears affected by the project.

Concoco Phillips In January 2017, it announced a “significant new oil discovery.” Named the Willow, the station is located in the northeastern United States, the largest tract of public land in the United States. The state of Alaska estimates that between 400 and 750 million barrels of oil are produced in the Willows area. When fully developed, the project will be able to produce 160,000 barrels of crude oil per day, with the first oil by 2024-2025. The estimated initial cost of development is $ 2-3 billion.

Following the Trump administration’s approval of the project in October 2020, several local groups and indigenous communities in Alaska filed lawsuits, accusing the government of allowing the project prematurely and illegally. In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for the United States granted a request for an order to suspend construction of the project, mines, and road construction. Recently, the Biden administration announced its support for the project, arguing that the government had issued a license for the Conco Phillips, following both Nepa and ENA.

“[Wednesday’s] To win a court case, our land and our people need to be honored and given a higher meaning, ”said Sikik Mapin, chief executive of Living Arctic (plaintiff in the case).

“This is a great victory for our climate and polar bears,” said Christon Monsel, a senior lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity. If President Biden is serious about tackling the climate crisis, he must move this project forward and ban all new oil and gas activities in the Arctic.

Alaskan governor Mike Dunlaviv on Wednesday criticized the decision, stressing that the United States is dependent on foreign oil. he said, “[Wednesday’s] A federal judge’s decision to ban a major oil project on U.S. soil does one thing – give production to dictatorships [and] Terrorist organizations… This is a terrible decision.

The state of Alaska has also intervened in low-profile cases, arguing that the development plan “examines all suitable boxes” and that the project’s demise will have economic consequences for northern slope communities. “With sustainable development, like the willow, northern slope communities are struggling to support basic government services,” he said.

Going forward, the Binden administration should repeat any previous development environmental reviews if ConocoPhillips decides on Wednesday.

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