The Trump administration is quietly moving to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the first time in more than 30 years, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, with a draft rule that would lay the groundwork for drilling.
Congress has sole authority to determine whether oil and gas drilling can take place within the refuge’s 19.6 million acres. But seismic studies represent a necessary first step, and Interior Department officials are modifying a 1980s regulation to permit them.
The effort represents a twist in a political fight that has raged for decades. The remote and vast habitat, which serves as the main calving ground for one of North America’s last large caribou herds and a stop for migrating birds from six continents, has served as a rallying cry for environmentalists and some of Alaska’s native tribes. But state politicians and many Republicans in Washington have pressed to extract the billions of barrels of oil lying beneath the refuge’s coastal plain…
But despite his bullishness on infrastructure spending, Trump has
proposed cutting the NPS budget by nearly $400m, which will force job
cuts. At the same time, Trump supports more oil and gas extraction on
public lands, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge…
Photo - @andy_bardon /// The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge seen from above. Shot while on assignment for @natgeo thanks to an Expeditions Council Grant w/ @kitdski @avyinstitute @natgeocreative by natgeo