The group appealing to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to halt progress on the North Slope Willow Project lost a round in court today. The court agreed with the lower District Court that the ConocoPhillips winter construction season may proceed, and said there will be no temporary injunction while the case is pending.
“ConocoPhillips is pleased the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction pending appeal. ConocoPhillips is proceeding with Willow construction as we continue to review the court’s decision,” ConocoPhillips said in a statement.
The litigants, Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic, had sued because they said the Biden Administration didn’t taken greenhouse gas emissions from Willow into consideration, and that the project would contribute to climate change. The groups said that the project might damage environment important to polar bears and other animals of the Arctic. They attempted to get this winter’s construction season spiked while the appeal of the project was pending at the Ninth Circuit.
Rick Whitbeck of Power the Future commented, “Like a stopped clock having the correct time twice a day, every now and then, the 9th Circuit gets a decision correct. Their decision to allow the Willow project to move forward once again slaps down the extremist organizations looking to harm Alaska’s bright energy future. Willow is good for Alaska, good for the U.S., good for national and energy security, and – as shown by the decision this week – on technical and legally sound footing.”
Willow is a major oil project on the edge of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska on the North Slope. Environmentalists oppose it because of climate change politics. Over the expected 30-year lifespan of Willow, it may produce 200,000 barrels of oil per day, for a total of 600 million barrels of oil, generating between $8 and $17 billion in revenue.
The court ruling said opening briefs are due Dec. 29 and the arguments will be on the court calendar for February.