Environmental groups sue Bureau of Land Management over Alaska reserve lease

By Marian Johns | Mar 20, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Legal Newsline) — Four nonprofit environmental organizations are suing the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over the federal government's lease of nearly 2.9 million acres of land in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. 

According to the March 1 court filing in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Alaska Wilderness League, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society have filed suit against the BLM for the December 2018 lease of 254 tracts in the reserve. 

The plaintiffs allege the BLM's lease of the land is illegal and that the BLM did not "retain the authority" to stop any future "activities" on the leases. The plaintiffs also argue the BLM did not prepare an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) to examine any effects of oil and gas development that could stem from the sale of the leases.

The lawsuit seeks to "vacate and set aside" the 2018 lease sale, and seeks appropriate injunctive relief as well as relief for the plaintiffs' reasonable costs and fees. 

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U.S. Bureau of Land Management U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska

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