Conservation groups sue to stop Alaska LNG project

Conservation groups sued the federal government Friday to challenge an export license awarded to the $43 billion Alaska LNG project.

The Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity assert in their lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Energy approved gas exports for the project without fully assessing its climate and environmental harms.

They want the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to require the agency to reconsider the decision and prepare a new environmental impact statement, according to a statement from the groups.

Tim Fitzpatrick, a spokesman with Alaska LNG, said the project will benefit Alaskans.

“Alaska LNG successfully completed rigorous environmental review across two successive administrations with strong bipartisan backing and, with more than 6,000 pages of federal regulatory analysis, is the most thoroughly examined energy infrastructure project in U.S. history,” Fitzpatrick said in an emailed statement.

The state of Alaska has long pursued the project, which would ship massive amounts of natural gas from the North Slope 800 miles to a port in Nikiski, where the gas would be super-chilled into a liquid for shipment overseas to Asia.

“This expensive, climate-polluting project is not in the public interest — it is a boondoggle that would undermine the Biden administration’s climate goals and needlessly lay waste to Alaska’s lands and waters, imperiling communities and threatening wildlife,” said Erin Colón, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental law firm helping represent the conservation groups. “Despite all that, the State of Alaska stubbornly continues to pursue this ill-advised project. We’re suing to force the DOE to reconsider greenlighting such waste.”


The Wall Street Journal, in an article citing anonymous sources, reported last month that potential buyers in Japan and South Korea are not interested in the project, amid concerns that Alaska LNG gas would not be ready for delivery until 2030.

Fitzpatrick said Friday by email that the Alaska gas line project “is in advanced discussions with LNG developers from Japan, Korea, and other parts of the world.”

Fitzpatrick said the developers “are spending significant time and resources on due diligence for Alaska LNG in advance of an investment decision to take the project to the next development step.”

The state of Alaska has pursued Alaska LNG on its own since 2016, when Exxon, ConocoPhillips and BP backed out of the project.

The Sierra Club previously sued to stop the Energy Department’s export approval, originally granted in 2020, the groups said. That litigation was stayed after the department conducted a supplemental environmental review of the project. But in April, the agency once again approved the gas exports and has upheld that decision, leading to the latest lawsuit.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or