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Despite Rising Gas Prices, Obama Judge Crushes Alaska Oil Project Over Polar Bears

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Gas prices may be soaring, but a giant Alaska oil project has been crushed by a federal judge appointed by former President Barack Obama — all because of concern over polar bears.

According to The Associated Press, the project — approved under former President Donald Trump — was struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason in Anchorage, arguing the large project on Alaska’s North Slope would jeopardize polar bears.

The project, ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, was approved by the Trump administration in late 2020 and had been defended in court by the Biden administration.

According to NPR, Gleason ruled that the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to exclude foreign greenhouse gas emissions when it gave the project an environmental review was “arbitrary and capricious.”

She added that the bureau had acted against the law when it created its “alternatives analysis based on the view that ConocoPhillips has the right to extract all possible oil and gas on its leases.”

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Furthermore, the Obama-appointed judge threw out a report by the Fish and Wildlife Service due to the fact that she said it didn’t include specifics when it noted the project “was not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of polar bears and not likely to result in the adverse modification of polar bear critical habitat.”

According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the price of a gallon of gas stood at $3.174 per gallon as of Monday, up $1.008 since last year.

In July, CBS News reported gas prices were up 40 percent since January nationwide — the highest they’d been in 7 years.

The predictable parties celebrated.

Do you think Joe Biden should go forward with the North Slope oil project?

Defenders of the Wildlife Alaska program director Nicole Whittington-Evans called it “a win for our climate, for imperiled species like polar bears, and for the local residents whose concerns have been ignored” and asked the Biden administration to look at alternatives to the site, according to NPR.

The site would have provided over 160,000 barrels a day and 560 million barrels over 30 years in a sparsely populated corner of the world.

GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy slammed the decision in a Wednesday statement.

“Make no mistake, today’s ruling from a federal judge trying to shelve a major oil project on American soil does one thing: outsources production to dictatorships & terrorist organizations,” Dunleavy said.

“This is a horrible decision. We are giving America over to our enemies piece by piece. The Willow project would power America with 160,000 barrels a day,  provide 1000s of family-supporting jobs, and greatly benefit the people of Alaska.”

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The statement was released immediately after Gleason invalidated the permits for the drilling.

“The Willow project is located in the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska (NPR-A), an area set aside by the federal government for oil and gas production,” the statement noted.

“If developed, Willow would achieve peak daily production of 160,000 barrels of high quality crude oil. Earlier this year, the State of Alaska intervened joined in the lawsuit to defend the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval of the Willow Project.”

It’s good to know that even though the Biden administration — certainly no friend to fossil fuels — defended the project in a little-populated portion of the world that’s set aside for oil and gas production, this is still a problem for the left.

Why? The polar bears, of course.

There’s no evidence the polar bears will be disturbed by this, mind you, and if that evidence were to be sussed out, it wouldn’t be by a U.S. district court judge.

What’s clear is that America’s energy independence matters not to these people. And yet, the left wonders why inflation is rising at a rampant pace and Americans are struggling to pay their bills.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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