Environmental Groups Take Legal Action In Opposition To North Slope Drilling Plan

As a politically charged tug of war has existed over drilling rights throughout Western and Northwest Alaska public land, another potential North Slope project that hasn’t been blocked has prompted two environmental groups to file a legal petition in opposition.

Here’s more from the Alaska Beacon:

In a petition filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club argued that federal agencies failed to properly consider harms that the massive natural gas project would cause to Endangered Species Act-listed animals living in the affected marine areas: polar bears, Cook Inlet beluga whales and Eastern North Pacific right whales.

The petition was filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, along with the agencies’ parent departments, the Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce.

The Biden administration last year renewed an approval of exports from the project, which has been pursued in various forms since the 1970s but never built. The current plan is being promoted by the state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. It proposes a 42-inch-diameter pipeline running about 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope to tidewater at Cook Inlet, where a new facility would convert the product to liquefied natural gas and load it onto tanker vessels for export to Asian markets. …

“The rubber-stamp approval of the Alaska LNG project was reckless in many ways,” Sierra Club Alaska Chapter Director Andrea Feniger said in a statement. “The project will be devastating to vulnerable wildlife already struggling to face the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The agencies responsible for assessing the impacts on whales, polar bears, and other species neglected to take proper care in evaluating the full scope of harm Alaska LNG will cause.”