Court Says No to Drilling for Oil in the Arctic, a Huge Win for Polar Bears

A federal court has rejected the Trump administration’s plan to to drill for oil in polar bear habitat in the Arctic Ocean

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has overturned the Department of the Interior’s approval of an oil drilling project in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska.

The development, dubbed “The Liberty Project,” would have involved the construction of a 24-acre artificial island in about 20 feet of water, with a 6-mile underwater pipeline to pump the water to shore.

“This is a huge victory for polar bears and our climate,” said Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the lawsuit along with Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Defenders of Wildlife and Pacific Environment, all represented by Earthjustice.

“The world cannot afford to develop new oil prospects anywhere, but especially in the Arctic where warming is already taking such a significant toll,” said Earthjustice attorney Jeremy Lieb.

The court ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service had violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to analyze the effects of the project on polar bears, including noise disturbance and damage to critical habitat.