One of Alaska’s hot-button environmental issues in recent years has been the calls and pushback over drilling rights in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. President Joe Biden vowed to reverse former Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump’s plans to roll back Obama administration protections for the vast public lands in the Alaskan wilderness.
The Biden administration announced plans today to suspend oil and gas drilling leases on the refuge. Here’s more from CNN:
The suspension represents the latest move by the Biden administration to reverse Trump-era environmental policies, which advocates and Democrats have said tended to favor business interests. On his first day in office, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, and in February, the US officially rejoined the landmark international accord to limit global warming known as the Paris Agreement, which Trump pulled the country out of in 2020.
The Trump administration last November started a leasing process for oil and gas drilling sites off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something environmental groups viewed as a potential last-minute giveaway to the energy industry before the Biden administration took over.
The Interior Department said in a statement on Tuesday that under the Trump administration, the Bureau of Land Management “held a lease sale on January 6, 2021, and subsequently issued 10-year leases on nine tracts covering more than 430,000 acres.”
Here’s some more reaction to the decision: