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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in autumn Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
On Monday the Interior Department took the next step toward opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling — they are rushing the process to auction off oil and gas drilling rights there before President Trump leaves office on January 20th, numerous outlets reported. Congress, as part of the President’s 2017 tax cut legislation, requires the Interior Department to auction lease rights in ANWR by December 2021 and 2024. But since then oil prices have plummeted and many major banks say they won’t fund drilling anywhere in the Arctic. President-elect Biden vowed to block drilling and the incoming administration will have the power to issue (or not) needed permits for drilling to actually take place.
Why This Matters: A Biden spokesperson said that this move “will not deter him from fulfilling his commitment to preserving America’s national treasures and the local economies and communities they support,” according to the Wall Street Journal. A lease sale in ANWR in January would be hard to undo, but the Biden team could raise the permitting bar so significantly that it makes the prospect really unappealing to oil companies and their backers. Meanwhile, the climate news gets worse as the Arctic continues to warm rapidly, imperiling native communities and iconic endangered species. Biden’s icy stance on drilling should chill the bidders.
The Interior Department’s Latest Move
Yesterday the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management issued a 30-day “call for nominations” to identify the geographic areas in ANWR that the potential bidders would like to bid on, potential bidders will have 30 days to make their nominations. After that, the Bureau could hold a lease sale and experts say it is possible for the sale to take place in the final days of the Trump Administration, but that will require quick work to complete the necessary legal steps in time.
To Go Deeper:Listen to this podcast, in which Adam Kolton, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League, joins Hannah Blake to discuss the bounty of beauty and life that is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
National Public Radio (NPR) did a terrific story on the climate corps to provide jobs for young people that the administration proposed in the American Jobs Plan. The proposal provides for $10 billion to launch “The Civilian Climate Corps,” to address the threat of climate change by strengthening protections on public lands.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A new study from the University of Oxford published Wednesday has found that nature-based solutions (NbS) land management and ecosystem restoration will play a key role in limiting global temperature rise. If implemented properly, these practices could remove gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere in the next century. Currently, […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer On Thursday, the Biden administration announced detailed steps to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. The report, titled “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” calls for a 10-year commitment to making conservation and restoration a priority. The plan details strategies to purify drinking water, increase green space, improve access to outdoor […]
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