Trump gives Arctic Refuge to Big Oil, opens iconic public land to drilling
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A caribou calf leaps around the herd in the Arctic Refuge.

Trump gives Arctic Refuge to Big Oil

A caribou calf leaps around the herd in the Arctic Refuge.
Caribou in the Arctic Refuge. Photo by Florian Schulz.

The Trump administration adopted a devastating leasing and drilling plan Monday when it released a Record of Decision that gives the entire coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the oil industry.

In doing so, the administration has set the stage for a lease sale that will hand sacred and public lands to international oil companies while violating the public trust and human rights, and ignoring the harms done to land, water, wildlife and people.

Drilling on the coastal plain would violate the sacred lands of the Gwich’in Peoples of Alaska and Canada, threatening their primary source of food, culture, and way of life.  It would further exacerbate the climate crisis, threatening food access, housing stability, and public health in the Arctic and around the world.

“The decision allows leasing of the entire coastal plain, seismic exploration across the entire coastal plain, and road, pipelines, and drilling across the entire coastal plain,” said Brook Brisson, a senior staff attorney with Trustees. “It’s a spider web of industrialization that will destroy land, water, and wildlife habitat that has sustained animals and people for millennia, and that will push carbon pollution into a region suffering the worst impacts from industry-caused climate change.”

Join the movement to stop the exploitation of the Arctic Refuge.

Greed and exploitation

The Porcupine Caribou Herd in water, the plain, the mountains behind.
The Porcupine Caribou Herd. Photo by Florian Shulz.

Bipartisan support for protecting the Arctic Refuge has been in place for decades. The majority of Americans oppose drilling in the Refuge. Yet, this administration has ignored western and traditional science, which clearly demonstrate that drilling will degrade the health of the Arctic Refuge, the Arctic region, and the planet as a whole.  

The administration has thrown science, facts, and its obligation to the law to the wind, and knowingly put corporate profits over people. Leasing and drilling in the Arctic Refuge would lead to needless, grievous impacts on wildlife, climate, water and air quality, and access to food and cultural activities.

A failure of stewardship

The Department of the Interior, the agency responsible for the decision, knows that this leasing program fails to protect the coastal plain. It knows it has ignored science and employed huge information gaps as a means for denying facts and defying the law. It knows it has disregarded its obligations under the law to be a steward of these lands for all Americans.

We know, too. You can bet we’ll be holding the administration accountable to the law, and joining our clients and partners in protecting the sacred and public lands of the Arctic Refuge and all the people and animals it nourishes and supports.