WASHINGTON (Aug. 17, 2020) – Interior Secretary David Bernhardt today is expected to formally open the Arctic Refuge to oil and gas leasing. The agency’s Record of Decision will pave the way for fossil fuel leasing to begin in the 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain in a matter of months.
The following is a statement from Gina McCarthy, president of NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council):
“The Trump administration never stops pushing to drill in the Arctic Refuge—and we will never stop suing them. America has safeguarded the refuge for decades, and we will not allow the administration to strip that protection away now.
“This is an egregious intrusion into the sacred lands of the Gwich’in and other Indigenous People. It threatens the heart of the largest pristine wildland left in America—the birthing grounds and nursery for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and home to polar bears, musk oxen, migratory birds and other precious wildlife.
“The administration’s reckless, relentless boosting of the oil industry will irrevocably damage this cherished place and compound the global climate crisis. We will not let it stand.”
The Trump administration rushed out an environmental impact statement last September for the Arctic Refuge after Republican leaders in Congress slipped a provision directing Arctic Refuge leasing into the 2017 tax bill.
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