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NEPA lawsuits challenge Biden’s Alaska drilling protections

By Niina H. Farah | 07/09/2024 06:53 AM EDT

The state and oil industry say the administration’s limits on National Petroleum Reserve development “dramatically and fundamentally” alter regional management.

National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr

New challengers are lining up to oppose the Biden administration’s latest restrictions on oil and gas development in Alaska’s 23 million-acre National Petroleum Reserve.

In parallel lawsuits filed last week, and Republican state urged a federal judge to toss out an Interior Department rule that set stronger environmental protections for more than half of the reserve.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management advanced the protections as it sought to address public backlash for approving new fossil fuel development in the remote Arctic region, also referred to as the NPR-A. At the same time, Alaskan politicians on both sides of the political aisle have warned that limiting oil and gas drilling in the state would seriously undercut revenue needed to fund a range of public services.

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In their lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, Taylor and ConocoPhillips Alaska claimed the BLM rule “dramatically and fundamentally changes” how the reserve is managed.

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