In a significant climate victory, a federal district court judge today issued a decision vacating the Trump administration’s decision approving ConocoPhillips’ Willow Master Development Plan, halting the largest oil-and-gas drilling project in the Alaskan Arctic.
ConocoPhillips’ plan, slated for a public lands area known as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska in the Western Arctic, would have helped accelerate climate change by releasing enough greenhouse gas emissions to equal that of 66 coal-fired power plants operating for a year. The lawsuit challenging the massive oil-drilling operation was brought by Earthjustice, on behalf of Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Greenpeace.
“We were very surprised to see the Biden administration, which has promised historic progress on climate change, defending this plan in court — but today’s decision gives the administration the opportunity to reconsider the project in light of its commitment to address the climate emergency,” said Earthjustice attorney Jeremy Lieb. “We are hopeful that the administration won’t give the fossil fuel industry another chance to carve up this irreplaceable Arctic landscape with drilling rigs, roads, and pipelines. We must keep Arctic oil in the ground if we want a livable planet for future generations.”