Energy & Environment

Green groups sue over Arctic drilling plans

A coalition of six environmental groups is suing the Trump administration for its plans to expand drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA).  

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized the Willow Project last month, allowing ConocoPhillips to produce up to 590 million total barrels of oil over the next 30 years.

“We are heading to court to stop the U.S. Department of the Interior’s brazen rush to drill anywhere it can in the Arctic,” Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska program director of Defenders of Wildlife, one of the groups suing over the move, said in a release. 

“The massive Willow project threatens the future of imperiled Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears, other wildlife and people that call the Arctic home. As the Arctic continues to melt at alarming rates and the signs of climate change are all around us, the agency has just doubled-down on its plan to drill in the Arctic,” she stated.

The NPRA is next to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and boasts many of the same species.

The plan allows for 50 wells on each pad, new roads across the reserve, a new airstrip and a pipeline.

The suit alleges BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, both of which require careful review of how a project will affect the land, local animal populations and nearby communities. 

Neither BLM nor the Department of the Interior responded to a request for comment.

“President Trump made his administration focus on American energy independence and the freedom it provides from day one of his term,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a release announcing the decision last month.

“This decision will make a significant contribution to keeping oil flowing down the 800-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline decades into the future while delivering federal and state revenue as well as important impact assistance to the affected native communities.”

Tags ANWR Bureau of Land Management Department of the Interior Donald Trump NPRA

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