Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Drilling in ESA-Protected Wildlife Habitat in Alaska

The Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Earthjustice, which represents Cook Inletkeeper, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, and Alaska Community Action on Toxics, sued to stop the Department of the Interior’s lease sale in Cook Inlet, Alaska, alleging that the final environmental impact study violates the National Environmental Policy Act and fails to account for the lease’s impacts on Endangered Species Act-protected wildlife. Lease Sale 258 would auction off nearly a million acres of federal waters in southcentral Alaska, opening the door to decades of future oil and gas drilling in important habitat for wildlife including endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, fin and humpback whales, wild Pacific salmon, halibut, northern sea otters, brown and black bears, moose, caribou, Steller’s eider, and multiple migratory bird species. Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.