Breaking: Judge hits reverse on ConocoPhillips' Willow project, which was already approved for development - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, October 25, 2021
HomeThe 907Breaking: Judge hits reverse on ConocoPhillips’ Willow project, which was already approved for development

Breaking: Judge hits reverse on ConocoPhillips’ Willow project, which was already approved for development

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U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled on Wednesday that the Trump Administration’s approval and even the Biden Administration’s approval of the Willow Project must be reversed due to a lack of analysis of greenhouse gas pollution and other environmental considerations.

“Today’s ruling from a judge trying to shelve a major oil project on U.S. soil does one thing: outsources production to dictatorships & terrorist organizations. Willow would power America with 160K barrels a day & create 1000s of jobs. This is not over,” wrote Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Twitter.

Gleason’s decision will surely be appealed by ConocoPhillips, although likely the company attorneys will need to pore over the lengthy decision. Gleason was appointed to her position by President Barack Obama.

Willow is a significant new oil discovery announced in 2017 in the Bear Tooth Unit in the northeast portion of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The original Willow discovery wells, Tinmiaq 2 and 6, were drilled on federal leases in early 2016.

After a successful 2018 exploration and appraisal season in the Greater Willow Area, ConocoPhillips Alaska said the oil find is estimated to be between 400-750 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The company proposed a new stand-alone production facility. It is estimated that Willow could produce in excess of 100,000 barrels of oil per day, which would help Alaska’s state budget and Permanent Fund, through royalties and taxes. Assuming permit approvals, first oil was planned for 2024 – 2025.

The Trump Administration signed the environmental impact statement’s record of decision in October, 2020 for the  Willow Master Development Plan.

Then, after putting other major Alaska oil projects on hold, the Biden Administration said it backed the Willow project and defended it in court.

Today’s decision is yet another setback for the Alaska economy and a win for the leave-it-in-the-ground environmentalists.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Who needs the hundreds of biologists and other scientists when one judge can make our permitting decisions? Just as well terminate them anyway to save money, given the impending drop in State income.

  • We have to re-think the way the courts work. Judges are out of control and have far too much influence. They think they are God like, and all knowing. We cannot tolerate a single judge making such far reaching decisions. This country has a pile of work to do in cleaning up the judicial system!

    • Could not agree more. Lets start with Sullivans puppet Kevin Saxby.

    • Impeach judge Gleason. Then we need to seriously consider that the lower 48 hypocrites want to use oil from other countries – Alaska Independence?

    • I agree the court system is out of control.

  • Once TAPS shuts down it will be dismantled and turned into a hiking trail. That will be that. Just as the people who elected Biden want.

    • I hope so! Hiking trails are wonderful and oil is not.

      • Michelle, or Claudia, the soles of your hiking boots are made from oil. The fibers in your rain shell, tent, and your Spandex Clad Elitist leggings are made from oil. Your super sexy iPhone is impossible without oil. No paper bags, plastic bags or virus spreading reusable nylon bags are possible without oil. You can’t even get an organically grown banana from Costa Rica to New Sagaya without oil.

        If you’re truly into hiking, you should reconsider your sophomorically shallow thinking.

      • Obviously written by someone who is 1. not Alaskan, and 2. ignorant of the pipeline – this would NOT make a good hiking trail.

      • Are you the woman I see riding her bicycle to the hiking trailhead? No? You’re burning OIL to go hiking?

        The irony is palpable.

      • I guess you don’t use fossil fuels because if you do then you have no right to be using them with that one sided viewpoint.

      • You can hike the right of way just like the moose, caribou, bears, wolves, wolverines, and other creatures. The oil in the ‘line, that paid up to 90% of state expenditures in the past, won’t dirty you…..

      • I’m sure that you are refusing your PFD each year too since you dislike oil.

      • Oil is Not … jet transportation is no good. Tires on your bike no good. Plastic window frames no good. And on and on. If it wasn’t for oil you probably would not be here. Your an ungrateful pos.

  • Fantastic news. This is a rare major victory for ordinary people who want clean water and air over rich and selfish corporate interests. Hopefully there will be more to come.

    • If your comment is serious, you’re foolish.

    • You ignorance is breathtaking! Like all liberal hypocrites you think importing oil from other nations who care less about the environment is going to make this earth greener.

      • Your

        • Claudia would rather we live like humans in the 15000 B.C. not fossil fuels, no farming green house gas, just nomadic nude in the woods living with that sweet sweet 30 year life expectancy.

          Claudia has the fallacious ceteris paribus belief that without fossil fuel, and other methods of production, as of 08.19.2021, human quality of life would be the same if not better.

          We do not have that technology yet. It just doesn’t exist claudia. Destroying fossile fuel and other means of production with some negative externalities is a poor concentration of your efforts. The strategy is deranged, but sells well for socialist.

          If you care about the environment you will strive toward innovation. Look at hurdles of green energy storage in perspective of marketability/economy. Why haven’t fugal based packaging overtaken plastics? answer these questions with solutions your become rich.

          Instead, people like Claudia spike trees, fund the same activities in other economies whos polution is going into the same atmosphere, but due to their insane virtue accounting system, outsourcing excuses them morally. Which is the ultimate goal.

          Claudia would rather everyone perish being “nice enough” people in some crazed sense, then strive toward a better tomorrow from efficiency while working within the limitations of technology today.

          A true environmentalist studies physics and engineering. Not social justice.

    • You have never been to a bush community obviously. What’s you plan for life without oil? You need to move to a bush community and live there.

    • ….as you sit in your cozy warm home on a comfy couch sipping hot green tea pecking away at your Mac Book Pro, or your iPhone, lamenting oil exploration.

      Look around you and count the hundreds of unnecessary ways you use evil oil.

      Want a little salt for that humble pie you’ll be baking for lunch?

    • Those selfish corporations are owned by stock holders such as yourself if you collect a dividend. Those selfish corporations produce oil that goes into every single thing you own. If you want to go back to horse and buggy go for it. You will also be going back to a 50 year life expectancy no long range travel no solar panels no wind mills. Etc. oil and gas has made my life very comfortable. That computer your sending this nonsense out on is made from oil and gas, the metals were mined using oil & gas. Is it possible to be as ignorant as your statement implies. Personally I think a technology meltdown is about to happen you may get your chance to test out your life without any fossil fuel.

  • It must be orgasmic to have this kind of power to screw over so many Alaskans and prove your wokeness. We can buy oil from our enemies as inflation spirals out of control. What a travesty. She can go to Democrat soirées and be cheered. Where do these lunatics come from?

    • The land of fruits and nuts… and Lost Angels.

    • Amen will. The meltdown is in full motion. Ignorance is bliss until your heating oil tank runs out in February and the electricity goes out. The purge is close. Never imagined ide see this country fall so fast.

      Keep your shooting irons oiled.

  • Wow Michelle and Claudia are the same person, big surprise.
    Hey you know we can and have had clean air and a productive oil business for about 40 years now.

  • Well all I can really say can not be printed. So you Indigenous and conservation groups ( that let forest fires burn because we can not manage) give up your snow machines, 4 wheeler’s, boats and what ever else you have that runs on fuel. Also find something new to heat. Burning wood is bad. Try that solar crap up there, bet it works real good during the long winter. One last thing also give up your guns and ammo as they are made in factories that use fossil fuels. Last I heard Caribou are thriving at the pipeline. Gleason go away, along with the others that want to make us a state park. Funny thing biteme approved this. Such a frivolous rejection. My dog gives more gas. Oops maybe should of not said that as they were and still are after cows for farts. Get a life. Waiting for appeal to set her straight.

  • When you can’t buy any wire because there isn’t any insulation for it for your electric car , maybe you will realize that oil isn’t just for burning . When you realize all the things you need that are made from oil it will probably be too late. Such ignorance is appalling.

  • Gleason is a wacko, activist judge. She can’t control her own personal bias. Beyond the bounds of rationality, reason, and sanity. A true nitwit ruling from the bench. Impeach her!

  • Supreme Court will overturn it.

    • When will that happen?

  • Rule by Star Chamber.

    Judges with agendas are the most dangerous thing of all. Even more than nut jobs who hate responsible oil production.

    • I rank judges like this with the oligarchs running Facebook and Twitter. Individual persons must not command this much power. If they do they must be in elected positions.

      She is. Time to impeach her.

  • These kind of court decisions, where thousands of people could lose their jobs & ability to support themselves and their families because of a political opinion, makes one wonder if Alaska should really be part of a union where they are binding. Hopefully the Supreme Court will reverse it. But if not, there are just some things which cannot stand. Sure the courts & rule of law are critical and part of our system. But so is the ability to be employed in a well paying job. I don’t know all the answers but I know judicial abuse when I see it. That judge does not loose her pay no matter the decision. But thousands of other Alaskans do. Not to mention the company’s investments. This judge has no clue of the impact of her decision, nor do the people who filed the suit. In a sense it’s a form of robbery. Or they simply do not care. I hope it’s appealed and the decision overturned. But at some point one just has to say no.

    • I’m for that one Dave – ignore the judge and start production ASAP.

    • Agree with all this. The fed gov is out of control.

    • Jurisdiction Federal Appeals Court? Are they “open”? Alaskan oil is the cleanest in the world. We should have our spot in the market.

  • Alaskans clamor for ever more oil to support their petrostate, while continually failing to diversify their economy. “Save us, oil prices!”, they cried.

    And all the while, their glaciers melt away, and their coastal villages fall into the sea.

    • Got a point there Dog. Man, they smelled blood in the water and here they all come. LoL predictable.

    • Nonsense.

  • It’s the establishment and ruling class that wants this. The left are just their tools, but make no mistake, it’s the “elites”, and there is no real “aisle” for them to be on one side or the other; they are at the Dias, issuing dictums from on high. A vote for any establishment type, for any political dynasty, etc is a vote for more of this. They do NOT want a middle class because a middle class is a launching pad for personal wealth and power and they do not want anyone in the club they have not ordained. This judge is just another useful idiot. Just like what we are watching in Afghanistan- they have a useful idiot running that horror show. This is what they want. They are malevolent and yes they are feckless, but even as inept as they are they have enough power that these things would not be happening unless they wanted them to.

  • I wonder how many of these Inupiat agitators benefit from the Power Cost Equalization fund?

    Remember the billion dollar fund we give them so they can have cheap electricity? This must be their way of telling us “thank you”.

    Hypocrites.

    • All of the bush natives and non natives do.We give them? Who is we kemosabe?

  • I think this might be the final straw for oil companies in Alaska. Gleason’s bias, And these dozen of money/power hungry EPA organizations and lawyers, along with a clueless Biden Admin.
    Oil companies will never return under these circumstances. Alaska is screwed in so many ways. Alaska will struggle economically for a very long time. higher taxes and less jobs.

  • Thanks guys! Been fun working on slope in Alaska. I’ll miss it.

  • Quote from NY Times…
    “Trump administration’s decision had complied with environmental rules in place at the time.”

    Earth Justice and their affiliate lawyers have influenced law makers to make this whole process a legal debacle with as much red tape as possible to follow. This type of corruption of our legal system will ensure Alaska will never be a resource State. Just one big park with high taxes, high inflation with no jobs for the poor or middle class inevitably.

  • Klaus Schwab @ the World Economic Forum, and her Mentor Barrack Obama will be very pleased that Judge Sharon Gleason is 100% Onboard and Complying with their Globalist Agenda = Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for the Greening of the Financial System (NGFS), The ‘2015 Paris Climate Agreement, UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’S)! We may see her at the next WEF “Climate Crisis” Summit in Davos, Switzerland; and of course she’ll be flying in the First Class Cabin on her transatlantic flight! I’m sure the jet she’ll be traveling on will be solar powered right, or do those aircraft burn jet fuel?

  • We are stuck under the idiotic notion that only oil from N America pollutes and the rest of the world’s oil is green and clean. As stated earlier, these folks have no clue that everything they touch is comprised, transported, or influenced by oil. I’ve said this before, the only way you can be 100% petroleum free is to stand naked in the forest.

    • And of course the reality is that much of the oil produced elsewhere produces far more pollution than US production. US production is second to none when it comes to clean air, water and other environmental concerns. Yet we’re hobbling US production in favor of exporting oil.

  • What do u all think will happen to 88 Energy south of COP as they are on state property not federal land?

  • Actually, all oil speeds up the greenhouse effect. Yes climate change is natural. Here’s what happen students, temps go up, melt all the ice in north America and Greenland. That water runs into the north Atlantic. The difference in salinity and density shuts off the conveyor system of the Atlantic current that drives our weather. Boom!!! Ice age. Now I realize this is way over most of your heads taught to you by a simple shop teacher, but if you don’t want ice a mile thick in central park…… something to think about.

    • People like you crack me up. It’s a shame humans weren’t smart enough 10K years ago to stop Mother Nature from melting the last ice age away. Had we been able to save the ice, there wouldn’t be so many issues.

  • Got to wonder if there was any communication between the Energy Secretary entourage and this judge. Coincidence?

  • To be clear, the judge didn’t say the project is bad, but that the approval process was incomplete. Just another case of the bumbling, stumbling Trump administration and its army of hacks rushing to get things pushed through without taking the time to check its work. Must’ve rushed because they knew he’d be a one-termer.

    • Not the case Corey. $150 million spent on studying and permits. As I watch your clown show president Joey the flake screw up everything he touched in the last 6 months. Apparently Corey thinks 10 years to permit a project is a rush.

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