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Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic v. Bureau of Land Management

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20018
Nos. 3:20-cv-00290-SLG and 3:20-cv-00308-SLG, (D. Alaska, 02/01/2021) (Gleason, J.)

A district court denied environmental groups' motions to enjoin an oil company from undertaking construction this winter on an oil and gas project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. One group argued BLM violated the ESA by inappropriately relying on uncertain Marine Mammal Protection Act mitigation measures for its ESA §7 determinations concerning Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) polar bears, and violated NEPA by failing to take a "hard look" at the impacts of the project. Another group argued the agency violated NEPA by failing to meaningfully consider any reasonable alternative projects and failing to properly estimate associated greenhouse gas emissions. The court found the groups had neither demonstrated "serious questions going to the merits" of their NEPA claims nor demonstrated that irreparable injury to SBS polar bears was likely in the absence of an injunction. It therefore denied the groups' motions for preliminary injunction.