9th Circuit’s Ruling Puts Alaska Energy Jobs in Limbo

9th Circuit’s Ruling Puts Alaska Energy Jobs in Limbo

December 8, 2020

No matter the positive impact President Trump has had with appointing federal judges under his administration, it seems the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals continues to make decisions that hurt Alaska’s energy workers.

The latest example?  Its decision Monday to side with eco-extremists and suspended Hilcorp’s ability to move forward with its Liberty project on Alaska’s North Slope.  Calling the actions taken by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to approve Hilcorp’s plans “arbitrary and capricious”, the three-judge panel effectively ruled that polar bears are more important than jobs.

Aside from the obvious impact on jobs, the ruling halts production that could have added nearly 15% more throughput into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).

With a potential Biden administration threatening to halt future permitting for oil and gas development on federal lands and in federal waters on his first day in office, the 9th Circuit may have done more than just issue an order to review and rework the project.  It may have killed it.

And that would be exceptionally more damaging to Alaska’s energy community than the project would be to Alaska’s polar bear population.