(Washington) Six environmental associations announced Tuesday to sue the American government after its authorization, the day before, of the large oil project Willow, in the North-West of Alaska.

President Joe Biden’s administration authorized the project “despite acknowledging and failing to reduce harms to Arctic populations, public health, wildlife, and climate,” a statement said. communicated one of the six associations, Sierra Club.

The complaint targets the Department of the Interior, which is responsible for federal lands in the United States, as well as several government agencies. She accuses them in particular of not having “considered alternatives” to better mitigate the harmful effects of the project.

The exploitation will be located in an area called the National Petroleum Reserve, land belonging to the American State, on which the oil giant ConocoPhillips has concessions.

The project was scaled back after an analysis of its environmental consequences by the Biden administration: it was reduced to three drilling areas from the five initially requested by the company, the Interior Ministry argued on Monday. .

But it will still cause, over its 30 years of operation, the indirect emission of the equivalent of 239 million tonnes of CO2, according to the Interior Ministry’s own calculations.

According to the complainant associations, the project “still violates the same laws” as in 2021, when they obtained that the project initially approved by the administration of Donald Trump be temporarily stopped by a judge, and returned to a new examination of the government.

Environmental activists were thus betting on a decision in their favor of Democrat Joe Biden, who came to power by promising not to authorize new oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

Faced with the authorization granted despite everything, they accused him of going against his commitments.

But the economic stakes are enormous. Proponents of the Willow project argue that it will be a major source of jobs, and a contribution to energy independence in the still heavily oil-dependent United States.

“We stand ready to defend this decision against likely and frivolous lawsuits” from associations, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said Monday, shortly after the clearance was announced.