Federal Court Orders Biden Administration to Redo Review of Trump-Approved Oil Project in Alaska

An Obama-appointed federal judge ordered the Biden Administration to conduct another review of an oil project in Alaska that was approved by the Trump Administration, potentially jeopardizing the entire deal, Politico reports.

On Wednesday, Judge Sharon Gleason of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska determined that the process by which the ConocoPhillips Willow project was approved had been “legally flawed.” The project had been extensively and thoroughly reviewed by the Trump-era Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Gleason claimed that, because the review by BLM excluded reports on “foreign greenhouse gas emissions in its alternatives analysis,” the review of the project was “arbitrary and capricious.” She also claimed that FWS’s review “is not in accordance with the law because it lacks the requisite specificity of mitigation measures for the polar bear.”

While the ConocoPhillips project was criticized by far-left activists, it was widely hailed within Alaska as both a creator of jobs and a steady source of natural gas that would decrease the state and the country’s dependence on foreign oil. The project would have constructed five wells and produced up to 160,000 barrels of oil a day.

Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-Alaska) slammed the decision from Gleason, declaring that “today’s ruling from a federal judge trying to shelve a major oil project on American soil does one thing: Outsource production to dictatorships and terrorist organizations.”

Although the Biden Administration had gone out of its way to shut down any and all future permits for new drilling projects in the United States, it had declined to reverse the approval of ConocoPhillips, as the process had been carried out and completed during President Trump’s first term. In response to Gleason’s ruling, a ConocoPhillips spokesperson said that the company “will review the decision and evaluate the options available regarding this project.” No comment was given by the Biden Department of Interior, which oversees both BLM and FWS.

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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