Breaking: First lawsuit filed over Willow Project approval says industry is greedy and Biden violated laws

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A group of environment organizations have filed the first lawsuit against the Department of Interior over the Record of Decision that will allow ConocoPhillips to proceed with three of its five proposed drilling pads in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska.

The Biden decision to allow the project to move ahead in a scaled-down fashion was leaked on Friday, and the leak was strongly denied by the White House on Friday, but then the Administration leaked more information to friendly media on Sunday, and announced the decision officially on Monday, giving environmental litigators the time over the weekend to put the finishing touch on their lawsuit.

These groups claim that the approval of the drilling project violates the law, even though the Biden Administration has cancelled two-fifths of the proposal.

“Willow would result in the construction and operation of extensive oil and gas and other infrastructure in sensitive arctic habitats and will significantly impact the region’s wildlife, air, water, lands, and people,” the lawsuit said from the public interest non-profit law firm Trustees for Alaska, which filed the suit in Anchorage on behalf of Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, Alaska Wilderness League, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Environment America, Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society.

The eco-groups charge 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. No single oil and gas project has more potential to set back the Biden administration’s climate and public lands protection goals than Willow — the largest new oil and gas project proposed on federal lands.”

Earthjustice is filing an additional lawsuit shortly, Trustees for Alaska said.

“The Biden administration approved Willow on March 10, despite acknowledging and failing to mitigate known harms to Arctic communities, public health, wildlife, and climate. The people of Nuiqsut, the community located just a few miles away, would endure increased air pollution, repeated blasting for gravel mining, and continued rapid industrialization that would lead to significant physical and mental health harms,” the group said in a statement.

“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, in the statement released by Trustees for Alaska. “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 The true cost of Willow is rising health issues like respiratory illnesses and rare cancer clusters all over the Arctic. The true cost of Willow is a climate crisis that displaces Arctic people and reduces access to foods like caribou and fish. The true cost of Willow is a future where we lose our traditional practices and diet because of the pollution and destruction to land, water, and climate caused by the fossil fuel industry’s unending greed. We will continue to fight this project and protect Teshekpuk Lake, and do so every step of the way.”

20 COMMENTS

  1. I guess they didn’t get the payoffs in time. I do hope none of them uses petroleum products in their daily life. I’m also fairly certain they cannot prove that this project will cause any lasting damage to any ecosystem or anyone’s lifestyle, except to enhance it by providing power. I expect these are people who scream at the sky.

    • “………I do hope none of them uses petroleum products in their daily life………”
      I think that supporters of these political/judicial environmental terror groups should be individually identified and denied the use of the products that they’re trying to deny to the rest of society.

    • I’m Always curious how we are going to build all this electric powered equipment when the people supposedly pushing to build the stuff keep shutting down the groups that we need extracted to actually manufacture the stuff.

      I think the reality is these groups are con jobs stealing money from people on the pre text of protecting the globe, They actually could care less about the planet.

      • I agree with your sentiments here, Doug, but please realize that when you incorrectly say “could care less”, what you are really saying is that the person or people in question do in fact care. What you really meant, and should have said, is that they “could NOT care less”. If you couldn’t care less, you literally do not care at all.

  2. This ridiculous trail of obstruction for a legitimate business seeking to operate legally in a US state would be absolutely impossible during the time the country was being developed. We would have never attained the lifestyle that allows for these people to continually work to destroy the lives we have if this would have been allowed back then. The operations in the Arctic oil field are among the most environmentally sound in the world. We are going to need oil for another 100 years, at least. Destroying the economy of Alaska will do nothing to change that fact.

    • Utterly ridiculous statement.

      Caribou poo does not burn.

      Siqiniq heats his house by burning cash. Other peoples cash.

  3. How does oil block access to caribou and fish? I would imagine to hunt caribou and go fishing, you need vehicles with internal combustion engines (airplanes, quads, snowmobiles, boats). BTW, we’re not the only ones in the Arctic, probably the cleanest, but not the only ones.

  4. We need to shut off by constant protest and presence all their fossil fuel use. Don’t let them to the pump or buy any food. Block their paths and hound them endlessly. This is what they are doing to us honest Americans just trying to survive in this stupid world they are trying to make. It is time to show them and give them what they want no fossil fuels or byproducts for them. It’s time to put an end to the stupidity being shown by persons who haven’t a clue how life works.

  5. Interesting essay by Tara Sweeney regarding Maupin and Sovereign Nutbags:

    ‘https://ictnews.org/opinion/false-narrative-dangerously-misleading

  6. If the environmentalist were true to the cause why don’t they protest and sue the government for military waste , destruction of the environment and unnecessary waste of fossil fuels. They are the biggest polluter and eco damage being done to the world. Look at all the wars and damage they caused. Get the government to stop the waste and damage before you cherry pick your battles you worthless bunch of wannabe lawyers and climate change nuts.

  7. Biden’s puppeteers get to have it both ways. They’ll now say his “approval” of Willow shows he is not against oil exploration in Alaska, but at the same time they’re funding all the greenie “non-profits” filing this new round of lawsuits. On top of that, they slipped in a ban on further drilling in the Beaufort to offset the Willow “approval”.

    There will never be a single drop of oil produced from the NPRA.

  8. These lawsuits will not stand up.

    1. Nuiqsut was founded in 1974, AFTER oil was already being developed at Prudhoe. It was formed with the sole purpose of expanding the boundaries of the North Slope Borough so they could tax Prudhoe … and NPR-A. Oil came first.
    2. The polar bear habitat argument does not work. Conoco has studied and addressed that which is why BLM had to issue the permit.
    3. The climate change argument is false on its face. Oil from Willow will go to replace oil from Mexico and Saudi Arabia. If you can’t get oil from Willow, you can’t get it from anywhere else, either. There are 300 million cars and trucks in this country, millions more boats, planes, industrial uses, generation. We are not going full electric any time soon. Probably never.

    Biden and Co granted this permit because they know that Conoco has legal leases and if they had denied them – again – Conoco wins billions in court. Enviros may find a friendly judge to grant an injunction but it probably won’t get upheld by an Appeals Court, not even the 9th. Even if it does, it goes to SCOTUS and is quickly tossed. This game is over. We win for a change.

  9. Interesting comments.
    I attended a meeting over the weekend where US Senator Dan Sullivan told us all the native leaders in Alaska agreed to support Willow. I thought that was pretty amazing. Then I read here that someone is protesting. What’s with that?

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