US Federal Judge Stops Approval of New Oil Project in Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason has thrown out the Trump administration's approval for a massive oil project on Alaska's North Slope, saying the federal review was flawed and didn't include mitigation measures for polar bears. (Photo of Anchorage, Alaska by Paxson Woelber/Wikimedia Commons)
Alaska District Court Judge Sharon Gleason overturned the approval of ConocoPhillips' Willow project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

According to Reuters, a federal judge on Wednesday reversed the U.S. government's approval of ConocoPhillips' planned $6 billion Willow oil development in Alaska, citing problems with its environmental analysis, according to court documents.

The ruling is a blow to a massive drilling project that Alaskan officials hoped would help offset oil production declines in the state. ConocoPhillips spokesperson 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 vacating the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's approval of the development in part because the agency failed to include greenhouse gas emissions from foreign oil consumption in its environmental analysis. It also "failed to adequately analyze a reasonable range of alternatives" for the project, she wrote.

Gleason also said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not outline specific measures to mitigate the project's impact on polar bears.

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