On Monday, the Trump administration finalizes to open up a certain part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This will be open to gas and oil drilling. This Wildlife Refuge is the largest stretch of wilderness remaining in the United States. However, this decision of Trump is going to overturn the protection of this land for six decades. The administration decides to open 1.5 million acres of land. But, the whole Refuge is about 19.3 million acres of land. The decision fuels the fire for a legal battle. And here is everything you need to know about the decision.
Trump Administration Opens Up Arctic Refuge
David Bernhardt, the Interior Secretary signs a document for opening up the Refuge. As per the administration, this decision will open up job vacancies. However, the opponents and the green groups warn about severe environmental damage. Besides, this decision puts the fate of the vast, remote coastal plain at stake. Despite sitting at the top of billions of oil barrels, it is still home to polar bears and caribou herds.
David Bernhardt says, “ The decision could create thousands of jobs over a period of time. It could also generate billions of dollars. I believe by the end of the year there could be a lease sale”.
The decision is controversial however, it is the latest from Trump Administration. As per critics, the drilling in the Refuge land can cause harm to wild animals. It can also have a negative impact on the landscape as well. This is the reason why the environmentalists have tried to keep companies away from this land. However, they failed to convince the Interior Department about the adverse effects on climate and wildlife. The Native Groups of Alaska expects to file lawsuits against the lease and try to stop it.
The Fight For The Right
Jennifer Rokala, executive director for Western Priorities makes a statement. She says, “ This decision will harm polar bears, caribous, and other wildlife. Not only this, but it is also foolish in the face of rapidly advancing climate changes”.
Besides, concerns are also about the indigenous people of Gwich. They hunt polar bears for a living and also this land is scared for them. Democrats accuse the administration of not being thorough with their research.
Adam Kolton, the executive director also makes a statement. The Alaska Wilderness League director says, “ Our fight against this will continue at every turn. Any company that wishes to drill oil from the Arctic Refuge will be at a loss. They will face huge legal, financial and reputational risks”.