Action Ended On
What was at Stake
Climate change, in large part fueled driven by the fossil fuel industry, is causing the Arctic to warm faster than any other region on earth, leading to melting permafrost, eroding coastlines, coastal erosion, and a host of other impacts that are devastating to this fragile region. Despite this, oil giant ConocoPhillips wants to construct a massive oil new oil development on federal land in the Western Arctic. It even plans to bring in equipment to refreeze permafrost made unstable by accelerating warming so that it can pump out oil, the very substance that is causing melting to accelerate. We need you to tell the Biden administration to put this project on ice.
ConocoPhillips clearly wasn’t getting the hint that it should not drill for oil, so it was up to Earthjustice to remind it that profits will mean nothing if they come at the expense of a livable climate. With our partners and the law on our side, we intervened and successfully stopped the project for now.
The good news is that, in declaring the project’s environmental assessment inadequate, the court affirmed that the government has an obligation to restrict oil and gas extraction to protect wildlife and the climate. The bad news is that the Biden administration actively defended this project in court, even though it was first approved by the Trump administration.
The court ordered the Biden administration to conduct a new environmental assessment, but it has an opportunity to appeal the decision — and we must urge them not to do so. Join us in telling the Biden administration the Western Arctic needs protection, not extraction.
The stakes are high, but the Biden administration’s actions in the Western Arctic thus far have been a stunning abdication of its responsibility to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Opposing a project that will generate emissions equal to that of 66 coal-fired power plants in its lifetime is the absolute lowest bar to clear if you want to lead on climate — and our court victory gives the Biden administration an opportunity to get it right and reconsider the project in light of the administration’s climate and environmental justice commitments. yet the administration has failed to do that so far.
Beyond the damage to our climate, ConocoPhillips’ plan to produce oil in the Western Arctic would be a disaster for all living things in the 23- million-acre area. The plan calls for 37 miles of new gravel roads, seven bridges, an airstrip, and a gravel mine, which would devastate local wildlife like polar bears, migratory birds, and caribou.
Fortunately, the Biden administration has another chance, thanks to Earthjustice’s successful litigation, to make the right decision. But it won’t do that if the only input it’s receiving is from the oil industry. Join us in telling the Biden administration it’s time for it to stop defending this disastrous project.