Judge Halts Controversial Alaska Drilling project

The 'Willow' project would pump 600 million gallons of oil and emit 500 metric tons of carbon dioxide in the next 30 years.

2 minute read

August 22, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


An oil line extends into Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska.

dani3315 / Shutterstock

"A federal judge’s decision on Wednesday to block a massive oil drilling project in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve handed a major victory to Indigenous and environmental advocates," reports Georgina Gustin.

"The so-called 'Willow' project envisioned by ConocoPhillips would extract nearly 600 million barrels of oil over the next three decades," explains Gustin of the project approved by the Trump administration and supported by the Biden administration. Environmentalists sued to stop the project shortly after it was approved last fall.

Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for Alaska agreed with opponents of the project, "writing that the administration’s approval of the project was arbitrary and capricious because it failed to account for the full scope of greenhouse gas emissions or for dangers to wildlife, including polar bears," reports Gustin.

Jeremey Lieb, a lawyer with Earthjustice, which represented several groups in the case, is cited in the article saying the project would add 500 million metric tons of carbon dioxide if allowed to proceed.

While the Biden administration has taken some steps to reverse some of the environmental decisions of the Trump administration affecting the state of Alaska, including a July decision to end the sale of large-scale, old-growth timber in the state's Tongass National Forest, approved by the Trump administration in October 2020.

The Biden administration supported the Willow project, however, "even as it attempts to advance an ambitious agenda that tackles climate change and shifts the country toward a fossil fuel-free future."

Friday, August 20, 2021 in Inside Climate News

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Aerial view of large homes surrounded by mature trees with Lake MIchigan shoreline at left.

Investors Snapping Up Record-High Number of Affordable Homes

High interest rates and record-high prices are driving investors to focus on homes in the lower price tier, exacerbating inventory shortages and pushing regular home buyers out of the market.

February 25, 2024 - Yahoo Finance

View from between tall white brick buildings in evening in downtown Los Angeles with modern office building across street.

Federal Office Conversion Program Slow to Start

To date, no loans have closed through a federal program meant to spur office-to-residential conversions.

2 hours ago - Bloomberg CityLab

Zebra crosswalk with raised curb extensions and bioswale on small street with parked cars and mature trees.

How Capturing Rainwater Can Make Cities Safer, More Resilient

Green infrastructure can help prevent flooding and replenish groundwater supplies, preventing subsidence that makes land sink.

4 hours ago - Wired

People in hoodies and jackets waiting for oncoming bus at sidewalk bus stop in Boston, Massachusetts.

Boston’s Blue Hill Avenue to Get BRT, Safety Improvements

The key bus corridor serves over 37,000 bus riders daily.

6 hours ago - WBUR

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.