Environmentalists Ask Federal Appeals Court to Halt Willow Oil Project


ConocoPhillips’ Willow project is in the northeast corner of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. (Map by USGS, Department of Interior).

Two coalitions of environmental groups, having lost their case in an Alaska courthouse, are asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to issue an order that would halt the massive Willow oil project on Alaska's North Slope.

On 14 November, the environmental groups filed separate appeals with the 9th Circuit. They argue that Judge Sharon Gleason made a mistake when she allowed work to proceed on the Willow project.

The groups, which include the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic, claimed in a pair of lawsuits filed last year that the federal government acted wrongly when it approved permits for Willow, which is expected to produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day at peak production levels.

ConocoPhillips, the oil company developing Willow, has already begun a massive winter construction effort, and a negative ruling by the 9th Circuit could impact its schedule.

The environmental groups in the appeal say that if Willow is allowed to proceed, it will have significant effects on global climate due to resulting greenhouse gas emissions.

The 9th Circuit has not yet set a timeline to hear the appeal.

Source: Alaska Beacon