Emergency order stops work on ConocoPhillips Willow project

Order stops ConocoPhillips from road building, gravel mining, and blasting
Published: Feb. 14, 2021 at 12:42 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Saturday to stop ConocoPhillips from doing winter road construction, gravel mining and blasting on its Willow project. The project is in the western Arctic and on federal land.

On Feb. 5, Trustees for Alaska filed paperwork with the Ninth Circut of Appeals to stop work on the Willow project. This comes after being denied an injunction in District Court.

In a lawsuit filed back in November, Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic (SILA) calls out the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for approving permits without looking at the impacts it would have on the land. This is required under the National Environmental Policy Act, according to a press release by Trustees for Alaska. Trustees for Alaska represents six clients in the lawsuit.

“This is absolutely amazing news and we’re thrilled that the Ninth Circuit allowed our legal case to proceed without damage and harm being done on the ground,” said Bridget Psarianos, staff attorney with Trustees for Alaska. “We will continue to fight this mega-project in court and are thrilled that ConocoPhillips cannot cause irreversible harm to the region in the meantime.”

According to the release, ConocoPhillips planned to start construction on Feb. 2.

Construction is now at a halt until the Ninth Circuit rules on SILA’s appeal of the District Court’s denial of the motion for the injunction. They expect a ruling by late April.

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