Arctic Refuge-Soultalk

The US have suspended oil drilling leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The US Department of the Interior has announced plans to terminate Arctic refuge drilling rights. They have cancelled nine leases that span more than 400,000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Two oil companies and an Alaska economic development corporation bought the leases. However, native Alaskans and environmentalists argued that the Bureau of Land Management failed to assess the potential negative effects of oil development in the Arctic. One of the legal arguments citing insufficient environmental assessments included the fact that the projects endangered one of the US’ last truly wild places and threatened already vulnerable species like the Arctic fox, caribou, and migratory birds.

Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee said, “After fighting so hard to protect these lands and the Porcupine caribou herd, trusting the guidance of our ancestors and elders, and the allyship of people around the world, we can now look for further action by the administration and to Congress to repeal the leasing program.”

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