A US federal judge has rejected environmental activists’ plea to temporarily revoke the government’s approval for ConocoPhillips’ multibillion-dollar oil and gas project in Alaska.

Last month, a scaled-down version of the $7bn Willow project, which will be located inside the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), received approval from the US Government.

Shortly after that, environmental groups and a Native American community filed lawsuits asking US District Judge Sharon Gleason in Anchorage to block the project.

The lawsuits contended that the project would worsen climate change and harm pristine wildlife habitat in NPR-A, a 23-million-acre region on the state’s North Slope.

However, the judge rejected the plea stating that the “plaintiffs have not made the requisite showing that they would likely be irreparably harmed” if ConocoPhillips proceeded with the construction.

With the approval, ConocoPhillips now has the go-ahead to build three drill pads, 25.8 miles of gravel roads, an airstrip, and hundreds of miles of ice roads in northern Alaska.

At its peak, the 30-year Willow project is expected to produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day, the company said.

According to estimates, the project will bring in between $8bn and $17bn in new revenue for the federal government, the state of Alaska, and the localities in North Slope Borough.

In addition, it could potentially create more than 2,500 construction job opportunities and around 300 long-term jobs.

Bridget Psarianos, an attorney contesting the approval, said the planned construction schedule was “aggressive” and the judge’s ruling was “heartbreaking”, reported Reuters.

Psarianos was quoted by the news agency as saying: “We will do everything we can to protect the region while the merits of our case get heard.”