Court Debates Fate of Biden's Approval for Willow Oil Project in Alaska

(P&GJ) — In Juneau, Alaska, a panel of appellate judges is deliberating on whether to uphold the Biden administration's green light for the extensive Willow oil project within Alaska's federal petroleum reserve on the North Slope, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Environmentalists and the grassroots organization Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic are challenging the project's approval, arguing that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management failed to adequately explore a range of alternatives during its review process.

RELATED: ConocoPhillips Grants Final Approval for $8 Billion Willow Oil Project in Alaska

The court session in San Francisco primarily revolved around these claims, with ConocoPhillips Alaska's attorney, Jason Morgan, emphasizing the contextual factors involved in the decision-making process. According to court documents, the project's approval is being contested on multiple fronts, with environmental groups disputing the Bureau of Land Management's assessment methods and alleging a narrow consideration of action alternatives.

Despite these legal challenges, work on the Willow project has commenced, with state leaders and various community groups expressing support for its economic benefits, while climate activists voice concerns about its environmental impact.

The Willow project area holds an estimated 600 million barrels of oil, and ConocoPhillips has said the project will produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak.

The project development has been backed by Alaskan officials, who are hoping it will help offset oil production declines in a state whose economy relies heavily on the oil and gas industry.

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