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Alaska Oil, Gas Rule Draws Lawsuit Alleging Agency Overreach (1)

An organization of communities in Alaska’s far north sued the Bureau of Land Management Friday over a rule they said “turns a petroleum reserve into millions of acres of de facto wilderness.”

The lawsuit appears to be one of the first to be filed under the Administrative Procedure Act in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s Loper Bright decision dismantling the Chevron doctrine.

Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat alleges that BLM’s “NPR-A Rule” forbids oil and gas development in 10.6 million acres of Alaska, and effectively ends any further leasing and development in an additional 13.1 million acres.

The rule is “directly contrary” to Congress’s purpose in creating the Natural Petroleum Reserve in Alaska—to further oil and gas exploration and development, Voice said in its complaint filed in the US District Court for the District of Alaska. BLM “disingenuously” claims that the rule “speaks for Alaska Natives,” the group said.

The rule violates several federal laws, including the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. It is therefore arbitrary and capricious under the APA, the complaint says.

Voice is represented by Ashburn & Mason P.C.

The case is Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat v. Bureau of Land Mgmt., D. Alaska, No. 24-136, complaint filed 6/28/24.

Read More: Alaska Oil, Gas Rule Draws Lawsuit Alleging Agency Overreach (1)

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