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Trump Administration Moves To Sell Arctic Wildlife Refuge Oil Leases By Year-End

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Trump Administration Moves To Sell Arctic Wildlife Refuge Oil Leases By Year-End

President Donald Trump's administration is moving ahead with its controversial plan to allow drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, National Public Radio reported.

What Happened

The United States Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management formally announced its leasing program on Monday.

“Congress directed us to hold lease sales in the ANWR Coastal Plain, and we have taken a significant step in meeting our obligations by determining where and under what conditions the oil and gas development program will occur,” the secretary said in a statement.

Bernhardt disclosed that a lease sale could be concluded by the end of 2020, according to NPR.

Environmental groups have reportedly vowed to stop the move that would affect nearly 1.57 million acres of the wildlife refuge’s coastal plain.

“The Trump administration never stops pushing to drill in the Arctic Refuge — and we will never stop suing them,” the Natural Resources Defense Council President Gina McCarthy told NPR.  

Why It Matters

The amount of oil in the area hasn't yet been determined, and there is no surety if Arctic leases would be in demand — given that the drillers have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NPR noted.

Several high profile financial institutions such as Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) have said they would not finance oil investments in the Arctic.

Local tribal members and conservation groups had put pressure on banks and others to stop the financing due to environmental concerns, according to local Alaskan media.

Photo courtesy: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia

 

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