A federal judge has declined to halt construction on ConocoPhillips’ CD-5 project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
A handful of residents in the nearby village of Nuiqsut on Feb. 5 filed a motion for an injunction to stop work on the new oil development.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason denied the motion in a 12-page order issued Wednesday. The ruling applies only to the current winter construction season. Gleason left open the possibility for the villagers to seek injunctive relief for future construction seasons.
The judge questioned the timing of the motion for injunction. ConocoPhillips for over two years declared it would begin work on CD-5 this winter, yet the motion wasn’t filed until the construction season was well under way, Gleason noted.
It appears ConocoPhillips was correct in asserting the village plaintiffs waited to file the motion “until the moment it would inflict the maximum possible damage and disruption” to the company, the judge wrote.
CD-5 is poised to become the first oil production project within the petroleum reserve. It will function as a satellite development to the large Alpine oil field six miles to the east. The project involves construction of a drilling pad, gravel access road and four bridges.
The Nuiqsut villagers are suing to challenge the wetlands permit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued for CD-5. They allege the project could cause irreparable harm to the environment and subsistence fishing and hunting opportunity.
See story in March 23 issue, available online Friday, March 21 at 11 a.m. at www.PetroleumNews.com