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Biden administration backs Alaska oil drilling project approved under Trump

Stock MarketsMay 27, 2021 12:45AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks after touring Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden's administration defended on Wednesday a proposed ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) oil development in Alaska, backing the drilling project which was approved under the administration of former President Donald Trump.

"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)" a spokesman of the U.S. Interior Department said in an email.

In February, an appeals court blocked construction of ConocoPhillips' $2 billion-plus Willow crude oil project in Alaska. Wednesday's development comes even as Interior Secretary Deb Haaland had opposed the project last year when she was a member of Congress.

The Trump administration approved the Willow development plan in October. Permits to mine for gravel and build roads were issued on the morning of Jan. 20, just before Biden was sworn in as the nation's 46th president.

Environmental groups had sued, making the argument that the government failed to take into account the impact that drilling would have on fragile wildlife.

"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", according to the statement shared by a Department of Interior spokesman.

The project has been pushed by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, who along with another Republican senator, Dan Sullivan, discussed the oil project during a meeting with Biden on Monday, according to Politico.

Murkowski said the engagement with the Biden administration officials since that meeting was "very productive".

Willow holds 590 million barrels of recoverable oil and could produce up to 160,000 barrels per day as soon as 2024, according to ConocoPhillips' previous estimates.

Biden administration backs Alaska oil drilling project approved under Trump
 

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Comments (4)
Ad Cline
Ad Cline May 27, 2021 12:19AM ET
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laurent chavey we already went through 4 years of stagnation under Trump.
Laurent Chavey
Laurent Chavey May 27, 2021 12:14AM ET
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back pedalling is his speciality. 4 years of stagnation
Clinton Powell
Clinton Powell May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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Lisa Murkowski and Susan Colins should start saying goodbye to Washington
Ad Cline
Ad Cline May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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Lisa ha already proven she doesn't need the Republican party to get reelected.
Hung Pham
Hung Pham May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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Ad Cline haha you are a proven racist
Darren Caris
Darren Caris May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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He should just reinstate all of Trumps policies and go back to sleep.
Ad Cline
Ad Cline May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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Darren..you mean like publicly admitting his sexual abuse of women, supporting inserection, and sidition; his openly support of right wing fascist militias that want to bring down democracy. his support of bigotry and rascism. his self serving tax program. his policies degrading our position as a world power. who are you working for..the Russians.
Ad Cline
Ad Cline May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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I'd say the last 4 years of Trumps corrupt behavior as President is a disgrace and an embarrassment to most Americans.
Hung Pham
Hung Pham May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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Ad Cline Trump is the best thing that happened in the US. Only liberal racist like yourself don’t want people if color to ve successful
Hung Pham
Hung Pham May 26, 2021 11:18PM ET
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Ad Cline hey racist we know you love VaChina Joe
 
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