Unless stopped, drilling will have a devastating impact on our most pristine public land
WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Land Management said Thursday that it will set up a Jan. 6 lease sale for oil drilling on tracts of land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This step formally opens the refuge’s 1.5 million-acre coastal plain, which has been a target of oil and gas companies for decades, to fossil fuel extraction. The announcement comes nearly two weeks earlier than expected, and breaks with protocol as it’s occuring while a 30-day call for nominations remains open for public comments.
Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:
“This move by the Trump administration is the latest outrage in its treatment of the Arctic Refuge. With an ‘everything must go’ mentality, they are attempting to jam through sales on some of our most iconic land. It’s flat out wrong.
“For decades, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has stood as a symbol of our nation’s strong natural legacy. Its breathtaking landscape is home to endangered polar bears, caribou, wolves, muskoxen and migratory birds that travel annually to all 50 states. Destroying their home in the craven desire for more oil is a tragic mistake.
“Once this seal is broken, there is no going back. Industrial-level oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge cannot occur without doing catastrophic damage to vital habitats.
“America is transitioning to a new administration that has already pledged to protect the refuge. We are rapidly moving to renewable energy and clean transportation options. We don’t need the current administration to jam this through, using a ‘going out of business sale’ approach. We strongly urge oil companies to take a pass.”