FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2023
Alaska Wilderness League Appeals Court Ruling, Seeks to Halt ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project
“Yesterday’s ruling is a setback, but we will continue doing everything we can to halt this massive project.”
Washington, D.C. – Alaska Wilderness League was among six groups that filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the Biden administration’s approval of ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil and gas project in Alaska’s Arctic. The organization’s attorneys also filed for a preliminary injunction in the case, asking the court to step in before ConocoPhillips started a race to road construction. Yesterday, the court denied the injunction, allowing construction to proceed, with bulldozers poised to tear across the tundra. Today’s filing asks that the court put in place a short injunction halting construction activities to allow for time to rule on the appeal.
The Interior Department recently released a Record of Decision that approves ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil and gas project. It was based on a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement which relied on insufficient climate analysis, ignored threats to the air, land and water, and greenlighted damaging impacts to subsistence resources that sustain local communities. The largest new oil and gas project proposed on federal lands, Willow is a huge step backward from President Biden’s climate and public lands protection goals.
Statement by Andy Moderow, Senior Director of Policy, Alaska Wilderness League:
“We went to court over approval of the Willow oil and gas extraction project in Alaska’s Arctic because the Biden administration didn’t thoroughly consider its project impacts,” said Andy Moderow, senior director of policy for Alaska Wilderness League. “Yesterday’s ruling is a setback, but we will continue doing everything we can to halt this massive project, because the impacts of development are clear. Make no mistake: we will never stop fighting to address climate change and protect biodiversity in America’s Arctic.”
The Willow Master Development Plan project would emit pollution over three decades equivalent to 76 coal-fired power plants running for a year and would serve as a “hub,” for ConocoPhillips to industrialize America’s Arctic. In addition to significant fossil fuel emissions, the project would threaten the subsistence and wildlife values of the western Arctic, including key migratory paths that sustain food security for the nearby community of Nuiqsut and other communities that depend on subsistence resources.