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In brief: Gleason hands Alaska and AIDEA an Arctic Refuge defeat
A federal court judge rejected a lawsuit from the state of Alaska and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority that challenged a suspension of oil leases in the Arctic Refuge.
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A federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Alaska and its economic development agency that challenged a 2021 Biden administration move to suspend oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
President Joe Biden, immediately after taking office, ordered a supplemental review of the federal government’s refuge leasing program and directed a suspension of development-related activity while the review played out. A similar action followed a few months later from U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and the supplemental environmental review has not yet been completed.
Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, or AIDEA, both challenged those decisions, joined by the North Slope Borough and two Alaska Native-owned corporations from the area, Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and Kaktovik Iñupiat Corp.
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason, in a 74-page order Monday, dismissed the case.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of the Interior declined to comment on the ruling. A spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Law said the decision is under review.
“AIDEA is disappointed in the recent court decision,” the agency’s spokeswoman, Josie Wilson, said in a statement. “Congress clearly said the Department of the Interior had to go forward with leasing in ANWR and expected DOI to allow those leases to produce jobs, oil, and revenue for the Treasury. Congress certainly expects the leasing entities to carry out its intent without having to expressly authorize every step in the leasing process.”
An earlier version of this story mis-identified one of the Native corporations that intervened in the lawsuit. It is Kaktovik Iñupiat Corp., not Kuukpik Corp.