18.3 Million Acres On North Slope Could Open For Oil Leasing In Feds’ New Plan

Many Alaskans, including Native groups, have been fighting for possible oil and gas leasing of land near the massive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which features abundant wildlife. The Trump administration’s plans to open up areas of ANWR for leasing were announced on Thurdsday. Here’s CNN with more:

The Bureau of Land Management plan announced on Thursday would open 18.6 million acres for leasing, about 82% of what the Interior Department said is the nation’s largest area of federally managed land. The government’s draft plans, released in November, had considered opening at most 18.3 million acres. It considered opening smaller tracts, too, including maintaining only the 11.8 million acres already available. …

The area is home to two caribou herds, grizzly bears, wolves and loons. Tens of thousands of geese visit the area annually for molting. Wildlife in the region around Teshekpuk Lake is particularly abundant, and each of the options considered in the agency’s draft plans would have made special considerations for that area.

For the 18.3 million acre option, the agency said the “impacts on caribou calving habitat and important bird habitat [would be] partially mitigated through no surface occupancy stipulations and timing limitations.”

Here’s some reaction on social media: