"We are pleased that the Biden administration decided not to appeal the court ruling on the Willow proposal. We should not be expanding our fossil fuel footprint in the Arctic. We look forward to working with the Biden administration moving forward to ensure that climate impacts, imperiled species like polar bears, and concerns of local residents are sufficiently and respectfully addressed."

Nicole Whittington-Evans, Director of Defenders of Wildlife's Alaska Program
Anchorage, AK

The Biden administration decided not to appeal a court decision voiding the flawed Trump-era approvals and permits for ConocoPhillips’ Willow Master Development Plan. The court determined in August that the Interior Department violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. The deadline to appeal has passed.

"We are pleased that the Biden administration decided not to appeal the court ruling on the Willow proposal," said Nicole Whittington-Evans, director of Defenders of Wildlife's Alaska program. "We should not be expanding our fossil fuel footprint in the Arctic. We look forward to working with the Biden administration moving forward to ensure that climate impacts, imperiled species like polar bears, and concerns of local residents are sufficiently and respectfully addressed."

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Polar bears
Edward Nahin

Trustees for Alaska filed the lawsuit in November 2020, charging the Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with prematurely and illegally authorizing the project. In February 2021, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request for an injunction and temporary restraining order to stop winter blasting, gravel mining, and road construction from harming the community of Nuiqsut while the District Court ruled on the merits of the case.

In August’s ruling, the District Court found that the DOI failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Law firm Trustees for Alaska represents six clients in the lawsuit: Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society. Find the court’s ruling here.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

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