ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Latest on lawsuit’s challenging the legality of a December petroleum lease sale in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (all times local):
Four more environmental groups are challenging the legality of petroleum lease sales conducted in northern Alaska by the federal government.
The latest lawsuit filed Friday says 2016 and 2017 lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska were illegal because the Interior Department failed to take a hard look at the effects of lease sales on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
The lawsuit says far-reaching climate impacts within the reserve could be triggered when fossil fuels from the reserve are extracted and burned.
The lawsuit by environmental law firm Earthjustice was the second filed Friday.
The first claims the 2017 lease sale was illegal because the Bureau of Land Management failed to follow federal environmental law in assessing lease sale effects on wildlife, habitat and fish.
Five environmental groups are suing to overturn a federal petroleum lease sale in northern Alaska.
The groups say the Interior Department in December conducted the largest-ever lease offering within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska without a proper environmental review.
The lawsuit says the Bureau of Land Management did not retain authority to prohibit future activities on the leases sold and failed to thoroughly analyze effects of oil and gas development.
The environmental groups say the lease areas include one of the largest and most significant wetland areas in the world.
The Interior Department offered 900 tracts covering 16,100 square miles (41,700 sq. kilometers), roughly the size of New Hampshire and Massachusetts combined, in the lease sale.
Oil companies submitted bids on just seven tracts covering 125 square miles (324 sq. kilometers).
This story corrects the number of environmental groups bringing the lawsuit.