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Judge dismisses challenges to oil lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Two oil lease sales held in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska were at stake in the case, one held under the Obama administration in 2016 and the other held under the Trump administration . (Photo by Bob Wick, courtesy BLM)

A federal judge in Anchorage has dismissed two lawsuits brought by environmental groups against the Trump administration challenging oil lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, or NPR-A.

Environmental groups had argued the federal Bureau of Land Management did not do an adequate environmental review before it held oil lease sales in 2016 and 2017.

In one of the lawsuits, the groups also argued the federal government failed to fully consider how oil produced in the 23-million acre Reserve could worsen climate change.

The federal government argued it did complete an extensive environmental review for oil leasing in the Reserve under the Obama administration, as part of a management plan for NPR-A finalized in 2013. The Trump administration is currently considering an overhaul of that management plan.

District Court judge Sharon Gleason ruled that in one case, the groups missed the time window to challenge the Obama-era management plan for NPR-A, which was finalized in 2013. In the other, Gleason wrote in her decision that the groups were wrong to ask for an entirely new environmental review for the 2017 oil lease sale.

ConocoPhillips, the oil company that holds the most leases in NPR-A, intervened in the case.

Attorneys for the environmental groups said they may appeal the ruling.


Source: npr

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