The Joe Biden Administration has defended a proposal by ConocoPhillips for developing oil fields in Alaska, backing the drilling project which was approved under the Trump Administration.
“A Wednesday filing by the U.S. Department of Justice continues to defend a 2020 Record of Decision for the Willow Project in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A)” said a spokesman of the U.S. Interior Department.
Earlier this year in February, a appeals court had blocked the construction of ConocoPhillips’ $2 billion-plus Willow crude oil project in Alaska. Incidentally, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland had opposed the project last year when she was a member of the U.S. Congress.
When the project was approved by the Trump Administration, environmental groups had sued, arguing that the government failed to take into account the impact that oil drilling will have on the fragile wildlife of Alaska.
“The filing (on Wednesday) maintains that the decision complied with NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) standards in place at the time, and that the plaintiffs did not challenge the Record of Decision within the time limitations associated with environmental review for projects in the NPR-A”, said a spokesman for Department of Interior in a statement.
According to ConocoPhillips’ previous estimates, Willow holds around 590 million barrels of recoverable oil and could produce up to 160,000 barrels per day by 2024.