© Reuters. Entrance to the ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. Building is seen in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, USA, on April 8, 2020. REUTERS / Yereth Rosen
(Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday revoked the US government’s approval of ConocoPhillips (NYSE 🙂 ‘, which planned the development of willow oil in Alaska for $ 6 billion, citing problems with its environmental analysis , according to court documents.
The ruling is a new blow to a massive drilling project that Alaska officials hoped would help offset declining oil production in the state.
ConocoPhillips spokesman Dennis Nuss said the company would review the decision and evaluate its options for the project.
In her order, Alaska District Court Judge Sharon Gleason said she was leaving part of the approval by the U.S. Office of Land Management because the agency did not include emissions from greenhouse gases from foreign oil consumption in their environmental analyzes. He also “did not adequately analyze a reasonable range of alternatives” for the project, he wrote.
Gleason also said the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service did not outline specific measures to mitigate the project’s impact on polar bears.
The Department of the Interior, which oversees the Office of Land Administration and the Fish and Wildlife Service, declined to comment on the ruling.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said the order dealt a blow to his state because the project would create thousands of jobs.
“This is a horrible decision,” he said in a statement. “We are delivering America to our enemies piece by piece.”
Willow, scheduled for the Alaska National Oil Reserve, was approved by the Trump administration last year as part of its push to boost the development of fossil fuels on federal lands.
The decision was quickly followed by demands from environmental groups, who argued in part that the government had failed to consider the impact the drilling would have on wildlife.
These same groups harshly criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for defending the project’s approval in the courts, saying it was at odds with its climate change agenda.
ConocoPhillips said in June that the development of Willow could start producing oil in 2027. Willow has about 600 million barrels of recoverable oil and could produce up to 180,000 barrels a day.
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