“Plan clears the way for an oil and gas lease auction on the refuge’s 1.6 million-acre coastal plain by December 2021”
“The Trump administration finalized plans Monday to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, a move that will auction off oil and gas rights in the heart of one of the nation’s most iconic wild places. Achieving a goal Republicans have sought for 40 years, it marks a capstone for an administration that has ignored calls to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the face of climate change.
The move will allow leasing on the 1.6 million-acre coastal plain, the center of a nearly pristine wilderness home to migrating caribou and waterfowl as well as polar bears and foxes that live there year-round. It marks a major step toward reviving fossil fuel development in an area that has been untouched for three decades.
In a statement, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said that his department was following through on the 2017 budget bill that instructed the federal government to conduct oil and gas leasing on the refuge.”