The Biden administration on Wednesday defended in the U.S. District Court for Alaska a massive ConocoPhillips oil and gas project approved during the Trump-era, per the New York Times.
Why it matters: President Biden has pledged to move away from fossil fuels. But the project has the backing of officials including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — who’s viewed as a potential ally for Biden in his attempts to push through policies in an evenly divided Senate, the NYT notes.
Driving the news: Some tribal leaders and unions also back the project, but environmental groups say the Trump administration didn’t consider the effects the Willow drilling project in part of the National Petroleum Reserve would have on wildlife and climate-change, according to Reuters.
- A judge temporarily blocked the project in May after the environmental groups filed a lawsuit.
What they’re saying: The Biden administration didn’t clarify how its stance fit with climate policies, but it said in the filing sufficient considerations had been made in regards to greenhouse gas emissions and the effects the project would have on “fish, caribou and polar bear habitat,” the Times reports.
- The filing noted that Conoco has “valid lease rights” and can “develop its leases ‘subject to reasonable regulation,'” per the NYT.
- Representatives for the Interior Department did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rebecca Falconer