The Alaska LNG Project

Photo Source: Pipeline and Gas Journal

Photo Source: Pipeline and Gas Journal

Leigha Cignetti, Writer

On April 14th, 2023, the Biden Administration approved yet another fossil fuel project in Alaska. This comes only one month after the Biden Administration approved the Willow Project which sparked outrage across the country.


What is the Alaska LNG Project? Will it have harmful effects on the environment just like the Willow Project?


What is it?

Photo Source: KTOO

Well, the Alaska Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project is a proposed 807-mile pipeline that would be constructed in the town of Nikiski in the Kenai Peninsula in southern Alaska. The plan is to liquefy and move Arctic gas that has been “stranded” in Northern Alaska across the state, with the hopes of using the gas exports to compete with Russia.


Per the website, the Alaska LNG project will use “clean, energy-efficient, and safe production methods to deliver a stable supply of natural gas for commercialization and for in-state distribution.” 


But is that really the case? Not according to People vs. Fossil Fuels, which is an alliance of more than 1,200 groups working together to support “frontline fossil fuel fights across the country and push President Biden to take bold executive action to address the climate emergency.

In an Instagram post from April 14th, People vs. Fossil Fuels said that “the Alaska LNG project will cause climate pollution greater than 10 times that of the willow project with as much as 277 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.”


Legal Issues

Similar to the Willow Project, the Alaska LNG project also was involved in a lawsuit over the detrimental effects that it would have on the environment. 


The lawsuit was filed on September 21st, 2020,  by The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club. The case challenged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve the project, which they did on May 21st, and the commission’s refusal to grant a rehearing, which happened on June 23rd. 


 In the lawsuit, both the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club both argued that the  project’s impacts on Alaska lands and waters, climate change, and endangered species were not thoroughly analyzed by the Federal Energy Commission. The group also felt that the project was violating the National Environmental Policy Act and posed a threat to the already endangered species of polar bears, Cook Inlet beluga whales, and North Pacific right whales.


In the group’s appeal, Senior Attorney for The Center for Biological Diversity, Kristen Monsell, made a statement saying that she believed that the Alaska LNG project would worsen climate change. The Senior Attorney for Sierra Club, Nathan Matthews, also made a statement saying that “FERC cannot just ignore the destructive impact this fracked gas export project would have on vulnerable wildlife and our climate,” and that he felt that the project never should have been approved and it would contribute to the climate crisis during a time when we can least afford it.


How will the project harm Alaska’s ecosystem?

Photo source: GlobalSpec

It is reported that the Alaska LNG project will increase large vessel traffic in the Inlet by nearly 75%.


This increase in large vessel traffic would go right through the habitat of endangered North Pacific right whales and Cook Inlet beluga whales, in turn, putting them in danger.


In the opinion of Erin Whalen, an attorney for Earthjustice, the project’s damage to the Alaskan “wetlands alone is among the most extensive [she has] seen.” The project would destroy over 8,000 acres of wetlands, and yet this project is still being allowed to move forward. 



According to new research, the Arctic is warming nearly four times faster than the Earth as a whole. Habitats and ecosystems are being destroyed due to climate change, and yet not enough is being done by the government. 


At the end of the day, climate change is an issue that everyone should care about. We only have one planet and we need to take care of it. 


Ignoring issues relating to climate change is not the way to go about taking care of the Earth.