The lawsuit comes about two months after Democratic President Joe Biden hit pause on any new leases for oil and gas development on federal lands and waters including Alaska’s Cook Inlet and National Petroleum Reserve.
There’s required testing and face masks, plus a shorter trail and a smaller group of mushers signed up to compete.
The U.S. Interior Department said there would be no searching for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this winter because Kaktovik Iñupiat Corp. failed to meet a key deadline. In a strongly-worded statement Thursday, KIC said the Interior provided a “blatant mischaracterization” of what happened.
The missed deadline effectively kills the corporation’s proposal to use seismic exploration to search for oil in part of the Arctic refuge’s coastal plain this winter.
Conoco had planned to break ground at the gravel mine site on Feb. 12.
A federal judge has denied requests by conservation groups that she block ConocoPhillips from starting construction work this winter on its massive oil discovery.
Biden’s order shouldn’t have an immediate impact on oil operations in Alaska because doesn’t it prohibit work on existing oil and gas leases.
President Joe Biden imposed a “temporary moratorium” on all oil and gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge shortly after taking office on Wednesday, citing the “alleged legal deficiencies underlying the program” and the inadequacy of a required environmental review.
Locking in the oil and gas leases could make it more difficult for Biden’s administration to reverse course.
The state won 10-year oil leases for nine pieces of land by submitting the minimum offer: $25 an acre. But drilling for oil in the refuge is expensive, and it faces an aggressive opposition campaign.