Environmentalists sue to thwart oil and gas lease auction in Alaska
U.S. environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Wednesday in hopes of blocking Lease Sale 258, an oil and gas leasing auction off the coast of Alaska that is scheduled to take place next week.
In the lawsuit, the groups argued the lease sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet is based on faulty environmental reviews, which it said violate the National Environmental Policy Act review process and the Administrative Procedure Act.
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In addition, they argued, the administration failed to adequately take into consideration the effects of climate change and the consequences for threatened species in the area.
“Cook Inlet is already experiencing severe effects of climate change, and new oil and gas leasing will only magnify those harms,” the complaint said.
The lawsuit comes just days before the Interior Department is slated to auction off nearly one million acres in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, one of three previously canceled lease sales ordered to be held by the Inflation Reduction Act.
Democrats included the lease sale language in the historic climate and clean energy spending bill in August to secure the support of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
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The sale is currently scheduled for Dec. 30 and legally must take place before the end of the year.
The groups filing suit are the Cook Inletkeeper, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Kachemak Bay Conservation.