January 10, 2020 — Vol. 26, No.03 January 2020

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Court rules in favor of BLM, ConocoPhillips

On Jan. 9 U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason denied a legal challenge by the Native village of Nuiqsut and five national environmental groups that claimed the Bureau of Land Management’s environmental review of ConocoPhillips Alaska’s 2018-2019 winter exploration plan and other industrial activity was deficient.

The village and its co-plaintiffs – Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club – also asked the court to issue an injunction prohibiting further exploration activities in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska until BLM redid its analysis.

Gleason upheld BLM’s environmental assessment and subsequent Record of Decision in a 73-page decision, ruling the agency’s review did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act or the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, as claimed by the tribal government and environmental groups.

As part of her order, Gleason dismissed the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth for lack of standing.

She upheld the 2018 EA and ROD authorizing ConocoPhillips’ 2018-2019 winter exploration in NPR-A.

Nuiqsut is on the eastern edge of NPR-A and has a population of about 500 people.

On Alaska’s North Slope, NPR-a consists of 23.6 million acres and is the nation’s largest single unit of public land. Established as the Naval Petroleum Reserve in 1923, the reserve was renamed and placed under the authority of the Secretary of the Interior in 1976 by the National Petroleum Reserve Protection Act. In 1980, the act was amended to direct the Secretary of the Interior to “conduct an expeditious program of competitive leasing of oil and gas in the reserve.”


See full story in the Jan. 19 issue, available online Friday, Jan. 17 at www.PetroleumNews.com.

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Alaska’s Good Gold News

Greens Creek hits 9.9M oz silver in 2019

Hecla Mining Company Jan. 7 reported that its Greens Creek Mine in Southeast Alaska produced 9.9 million ounces of silver in 2019, a 24 percent jump over the 8 million oz produced the prior year and the highest annual production since the Idaho-based company bought full ownership of the operation in 2008. Greens Creek also produced 56,624 oz of gold last year, a 10 percent increase compared to…

Priority copper targets north of Pebble

Quaterra Resources Inc. Jan. 9 reported that a geophysical survey carried out on its Groundhog property in Southwest Alaska has identified 19 porphyry copper-gold targets. Groundhog is a 54,880-acre property that covers a northern extension of a structural zone that hosts several porphyry targets and deposits, including the world-class Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum deposits about three miles to…