Last week we told you about the Trump Administration greenlighting plans to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to drilling.
Now, they are rushing to lease the Arctic Refuge as we approach the 2020 election to ensure that even if Donald Trump is defeated, their policy “accomplishment” of allowing fossil fuel companies access to drill in this wild place can’t be undone.
“I do believe that there certainly could be a lease sale by the end of the year,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said as the government released plans called for the first oil and gas auction to be held by December 2021.
And oil industry executives are applauding the move, with a senior vice president at the American Petroleum Institute saying he, “would support seeing a lease sale this year.”
The fact that the Trump Administration is pushing for a lease sale ASAP, even while oil prices remain at rock bottom, shows a deranged commitment to selling this pristine wilderness to oil interests. Their decision ignores science, tramples on indigenous rights, and fails to protect caribou, polar bears, and countless other wildlife
Here is a reminder of what is at stake:
- Oil production in the Arctic Refuge is expected to release around 4.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which would be disastrous for our climate.
- The Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain is sacred to the indigenous Gwich’in community because of its importance as the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd.
- Mother polar bears and their cubs are increasingly reliant on the coastal plan for their denning habit
- And birds migrate to the refuge from across the United States and six continents to feed and reproduce.
One way or another, this issue is going to come down to Congress to resolve. And not only has SEEC PAC member Rep. Jared Huffman written the bill to protect ANWR, but we also got that bill passed in the House of Representatives. And we will keep fighting until it becomes law.