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Governor Dunleavy Welcomes District Court Decision Dismissing Challenges to the Willow Project

Nov 9, 2023

Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska dismissed two lawsuits by environmental groups challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) record of decision (“ROD”) approving the Willow Master Development Plan (“MDP”) and related federal actions.

“Today’s federal court decision reaffirms that the Willow project is an environmentally responsible energy project in an area Congress specifically designated for oil and gas development,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Willow will demonstrate once again that Alaska develops its resources with the most stringent environmental standards in the world. The Willow project will create new jobs, higher revenues, and increase the nation’s overall energy security.”

“Today’s Alaska District Court decision affirming BLM’s approval of the Willow project on the North Slope is a much-needed win for Alaska,” said DNR Commissioner John Boyle. “Despite efforts by environmental extremists to thwart the project at every turn, the extremely rigorous permitting process to date has now been validated. It’s time for litigation to end to protect the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in state revenue that Willow can bring to Alaskans. The project is unquestionably in the public interest and must move forward.”

The State of Alaska intervened in the lawsuits in defense of the Willow Project approvals. The State has significant interests in these cases due to its status as a sovereign state, neighboring land manager, regulatory authority, and taxing authority. The activities from the Willow Project will provide much needed jobs, subsistence access, billions in revenues, and bolster the nation’s energy security.

Attorney General Treg Taylor said, “It is heartening progress for Alaska and jobs for Alaskans. The State is reviewing the Order but is pleased that the Order recognizes the important policy goals of Congress in establishing the NPR-A for oil extraction.”

The Willow MDP authorizes ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. to construct and operate infrastructure necessary to allow production and transportation to market of oil and gas from its Willow Project leases in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A). The Willow Project approvals followed from years of rigorous environmental reviews and consultations across federal, state, and local levels. ConocoPhillips has agreed to construct up to three boat ramps, tundra access ramps, and gravel pullouts that will benefit subsistence users and the continued health of those communities.

The North Slope Borough, Arctic Regional Slope Corporation, Kuukpik Corporation, and ConocoPhillips joined in defense of the approvals. The Alaska Congressional Delegation filed an amicus brief in support.