Six groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday,14th Mar. in U.S. District Court charging the Interior Department, multiple agencies, and agency officials with violating an array of laws when authorizing ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil and gas project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
he Biden administration approved Willow on March 10, despite acknowledging and failing to mitigate known harms to Arctic communities, public health, wildlife, and climate.
The Willow project would significantly expand ConocoPhillips’ extensive oil and gas extraction operation in the Arctic and become a hub for future industrialization for decades, spewing out toxic emissions and greenhouse gas pollution that undermines the President’s climate promises.
Once again, we find ourselves going to court to protect our lives, our communities, and our future.
..said Siqiñiq Maupin, executive director of Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic. “The Biden administration’s approval of the ConocoPhillips Willow project makes no sense for the health of the Arctic or the planet and comes after numerous calls by local communities for tribal consultation and real recognition of the impacts to land, water, animals, and people. ConocoPhillips has made record profits year after year and hopes to continue to do so at the cost of our communities and future generations”.
Among the lawsuit’s counts includes one that charges agencies with violating NEPA by failing to consider alternatives that would further reduce impacts to subsistence users, preclude drilling in sensitive ecosystems, or reduce greenhouse gas emissions or climate impacts. It further charges agencies for not taking a hard look at direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts, as required by NEPA, including impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, air quality, polar bears, caribou, wetlands, and subsistence uses and resources.
The public interest non-profit law firm Trustees for Alaska filed the suit in Anchorage, Alaska, on behalf of Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, Alaska Wilderness League, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Environment America, Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.