Environmental groups sue to stop Alaska oil drilling project approved by President Biden

Environmental groups sue to stop Alaska oil drilling project approved by President Biden

A coalition of environmental organizations filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to stop an Alaska oil drilling project that President Biden signed off on earlier this week.

The project, which could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day, has been likened to a “carbon bomb” by the green groups.

They had criticized Biden for reneging on his campaign pledges to boost alternate forms of energy and end drilling on public lands as he considered the Willow Project.

Erik Grafe, deputy managing attorney in Earthjustice’s Alaska regional office, said in a statement that “There is no question that the administration possessed the legal authority to stop Willow — yet it chose not to.

It greenlit this carbon bomb without adequately assessing its climate impacts or weighing its options to limit the damage and say no.

The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges we face, and President Biden has promised to do all he can to meet the moment.”

Earthjustice sued on behalf of several organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace USA, Defenders of Wildlife, and Friends of the Earth.

The lawsuit claims that the project “undermines President Biden’s promises to slash greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030 and transition the United States to clean energy.”


The environmental groups argue that the ConocoPhillips drilling project on Alaska’s Northern Slope will add about “260 million metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere over the next 30 years.”

They further claim that the Willow Project will “cause irreparable harm to the environment, Arctic wildlife, and nearby people who depend on the land for subsistence.”

ConocoPhillips has stated that the project would create more than 1,800 jobs during construction, 300 long-term jobs, and generate billions of dollars in royalty payments and tax revenue for Alaska and the federal government.

Biden’s approval, which came on Monday, allows ConocoPhillips to develop three drilling sites on federal land in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska.

At the same time, the company will have to give up rights to about 68,000 acres in the reserve.


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