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Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
September 2017

Vol. 22, No. 37 Week of September 10, 2017

State intervenes in OCS leasing court case

The state of Alaska has filed to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the April 28 executive order by President Trump, cancelling several of President Obama’s withdrawals of outer continental shelf lands from oil and gas leasing. The withdrawals negated by Trump’s order include the whole of the Chukchi Sea and much of the Beaufort Sea. The withdrawals did not include a fairway of the Beaufort Sea close to the coast of the North Slope.

Following Trump’s order, a group of environmental organizations filed suit in the federal District Court in Alaska, claiming that the president does not have the authority to undo a land withdrawal under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The state has intervened in support of Trump’s action. The court is currently gathering motions in the case, including the state’s motion to intervene and a subsequent motion by the state to dismiss the case.

“In filing this motion, our objective is to make sure that the State of Alaska has future development opportunities in the Arctic OCS,” said Governor Walker on Aug. 31 when announcing the state’s intervention. “State agencies routinely balance environmental conservation and protection with responsible resource development, and the Arctic OCS is no different. This gives the state a unique stake in the outcome of this litigation, and puts us in the best position to defend those interests.”

“Federal law recognizes that input from coastal states is the cornerstone of access to these (OCS) resources. Access to them should not be limited without consultation with the state and local governments,” said Andy Mack, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

- ALAN BAILEY






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