The massive Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope can move forward, a federal judge in Anchorage ruled Thursday.
A University of Alaska Fairbanks team last month found about 100 chum salmon that were spawning or had just spawned in the Anaktuvuk and Itkillik rivers.
No company was close to drilling in the refuge. Two companies that bought leases during the Trump administration later gave them up.
Willow would be the first large project constructed in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and ConocoPhillips’ 30-year lease was signed in 1999.
In March, a judge determined that a federal law preempts a state law that requires North Slope companies to make data publicly available.
The leak at Alpine continued for days before workers got control of it.
The order says Hilcorp has a track record of regulatory non-compliance that includes more than 60 enforcement actions.
ExxonMobil told shareholders last week the company doesn’t expect to expand its activities in the Arctic.
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason denied requests for an injunction that would have stopped the company from working in the final weeks of the winter construction season.
Two lawsuits, filed by environmental groups and an Inupiat advocacy organization, aim to overturn the Biden administration’s approval of Willow.