Sprinting to court to stop the Arctic Refuge sell-off

Porcupine caribou herd on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS photo.

We sprinted to court this week to stop the outgoing Trump administration from selling off sacred and public land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the last days of its term.

The motion filed on Dec. 15 requests a preliminary injunction that stops the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from issuing any leases sold during the January lease sale of the coastal plain, and from authorizing any seismic exploration activities.

The Bureau intends to hold a lease sale on Jan. 6 in an attempt to transfer leases to private oil companies before Inauguration Day. The administration is also rushing to green light a seismic exploration proposal that is slated to start operations in late January.

  • Read the press release here.
  • Read the memorandum supporting the motion here.
  • Learn how to help stop the Arctic Refuge sell-off here.

An immediate threat to the Arctic

Arctic protectors holding a Defend the Sacred banner.
Photo by Keri Oberly.

Handing over these Arctic lands to private oil interests would violate the human rights, culture and way of life of the Gwich’in Peoples of Alaska and Canada, and enact devastating consequences on climate, public health, and the health of wildlife. The overwhelming majority of Americans want the Arctic Refuge protected.

“The Trump administration has demonstrated a dangerous disrespect for the public interest and transparency throughout the administrative process,” said Brook Brisson, senior staff attorney with Trustees. “The consequences of this lease sale are massive and devastating. Oil companies may bid low, but the Gwich’in will pay dearly with their culture, their food access, and their way of life.”

Trustees filed the motion in the Gwich’in Steering Committee’s current lawsuit filed in August, requesting the court to rule on the injunction by Jan. 6.

Art by Jessi Thornton

The consequences of seismic activity this winter and the expansive lease terms and rights granted by the sale show that there is immediate threat to Arctic lands, animals, and communities if leases are issued.

Take action now to stop the Arctic Refuge sell-off

You can speak up for the Arctic Refuge by using the 30 Days of Action toolkit created and supported by Defend the Sacred AK,  Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, the Gwich’in Steering Committee, and
Native Movement.

The toolkit includes social media content, information on how to contact public officials and engage in the public process, corporate actions, and the International Day of Solidarity.