Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The State of Alaska has asked a U. S. District Court judge to allow it to intervene in a lawsuit by environmental groups that seeks to significantly limit oil and gas activities in the Beaufort Sea region.
The environmental groups filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior in September after the federal government announced plans to allow entities to conduct certain oil exploration, development, and production activities that may pose what the agency considers a non-lethal nuisance to polar bears and Pacific walruses.
State Attorney General Treg Taylor said in a release that as the primary steward of the state’s natural resources and its wildlife, Alaska has a vested interest in intervening in the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue the court should block the federal government’s issuance of Letters of Authorization to companies for oil and gas industry operations that could be considered “harassment” of marine mammals. The federal government’s final regulation authorizing the letters in the Southern Beaufort Sea region for the next five years took effect in August.
In the state’s motion to intervene in the lawsuit, the Attorney General maintained that Alaska must have a seat at the table when it comes to any litigation that implicates both state revenues and the obligations of the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Game.