When former President Donald Trump was in office, one of his many controversial decisions involved a push to open up drilling inside Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the dismay of many Alaskans who depend on Arctic NWR’s caribou herds for subsistence hunting. And a 2021 ruling by Trump’s White House successor Joe Biden put a halt to oil and gas leases at Arctic NWR.
On Monday, a federal judge upheld the ruling. Here are some details from the Anchorage Daily News:
U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason’s 74-page decision dismisses “all claims” brought by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. She says the federal government’s pause followed federal law as the Interior Department conducts an additional environmental review of the leasing program approved under former President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden, who had vowed to protect the refuge from drilling, signed an executive order as one of his first acts in office that placed a temporary moratorium on oil and gas activity in the refuge. Soon after, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland determined that the environmental review that led to the approval of the leasing program contained multiple legal flaws. The agency temporarily suspended the leases. …
“This court decision rejects AIDEA’s careless agenda to drill on sacred lands and allows us to continue defending the Porcupine caribou herd and our traditional way of life from a destructive, disrespectful, needless and illegal leasing program,” Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, said in a prepared statement.
Here’s some more social media reaction: