Taking Steps to Protect the Arctic Refuge Now and Forever
At nearly 20 million acres, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to indigenous communities who rely on the refuge’s coastal plain habitat, which is home to the 200,000-member Porcupine Caribou Herd. In August 2020, The Trump Administration announced they had begun preparations to auction off drilling leases in the refuge (specifically the coastal plain). On January 6th, 2021, the Trump administration sold only 11 tracts of 22 – the vast majority of winning bids went to the State of Alaska (Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority). Part of the reason for the lease sale’s poor performance was that in December 2020, Bank of America joined Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Chase, Wells Fargo, and CitiBank in announcing commitments not to finance oil and gas projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In June 2021, The Biden Administration’s Interior Department Suspended the Oil and Gas Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge so the agency could conduct its own comprehensive analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In September 2021, Under the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management began the supplemental EIS process, which included opportunities for the public to comment – the initial scoping process has been completed. Most recently, Democratic House Members passed legislation intended to be added to the larger budget reconciliation package. This legislation would end future oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Moving forward, Alaskans will engage in the supplemental EIS process and advocate for the legislation to be included and passed in the final budget reconciliation package.
Approximately 70 percent of Americans oppose development in the Arctic Refuge, according to a number of recent polls. You can join us in defending the Refuge by donating today.
Learn more here about the importance of the Arctic Refuge and the issues it faces – and watch our video about the Arctic Refuge!