This week, the Trump administration released a Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program Record of Decision finalizing plans for oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, opening up the 1.6 million acre coastal plain of the public-lands area to fossil fuel development for the first time.
“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,” said Gina McCarthy, President of NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council).
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.
“President Trump’s decision runs roughshod over laws designed to protect wildlife like polar bears and caribou, which have used the coastal plain since time immemorial as a refuge to give birth to their young every year,” said Earthjustice Deputy Managing Attorney Erik Grafe. “The administration’s plan to ruin this place for short-term private oil profit is unlawful, and we will soon see them in court. The sacred, wild, and irreplaceable Arctic Refuge is the last place we should be surrendering to dead-end oil development that will only worsen the climate crisis.”
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