Breaking: Monday, April 1 – In a stunning reversal, leaders from the Alaska Center…for the environment announced that they can no longer keep up the charade of pretending that responsible resource development, jobs and revenue for the state are villains that must be stopped. “We’ve reached a point where we can no longer say with conviction that resource development is the enemy of the people or that thousands of high paying jobs are not the sign of a strong economy.”
Federal judge declares Trump’s push to open up Arctic and Atlantic oceans to oil and gas drilling illegal
Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post, March 30, 2019
A federal judge in Alaska declared late Friday that President Trump’s order revoking a sweeping ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans is illegal, putting 128 million acres of federal waters off limits to energy exploration. The decision by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason is the third legal setback this week to Trump’s energy and environmental policies. The judge, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2012, also blocked on Friday a land swap the Interior Department arranged that would pave the way for constructing a road through wilderness in a major National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Our Take: Rebecca Logan, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, said in an email that members of her oil and gas trade group did not see the decision as the final word. “Anything done by administrative action can be undone by administrative action,” Logan said. “This question will work its way through the courts, and eventually I expect Judge Gleason’s decision will be reversed.”
It’s not only problematic that climate liability lawsuits are being pushed by financially motivated lawyers and spotlight-seeking politicians, but they are doing so in spite of the lawsuits’ long-shot odds of success. Federal judges in both California and New York have already tossed public nuisance climate cases brought by cities on the basis that courts are not the appropriate place to handle issues that spread beyond a single city’s borders, but rather these issues should be addressed by the other two branches of government. The Litigation Monster report sums this point up nicely, stating: “Unlike the discrete, localized interferences that public nuisance was designed to address, local government plaintiffs have sought to expand the tort’s reach to include public policy matters that implicate much more widespread interests. In many cases, these interests reach the national, and even international, level. These large-scale societal challenges are better dealt with by the legislative and executive branches, which, unlike courts, are uniquely capable of balancing all of the competing needs and interests in play.”