When the Trump administration rushed through an oil lease sale in the heart of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge days before it left office, we challenged the action in court. On his first day in office, President Biden issued an executive order freezing oil activities in the Refuge, citing the very legal flaws we identified in our lawsuit. Last month, the Biden administration initiated a formal process to reconsider the Trump oil program, keeping all oil activity off limits during the process. This action has left us with two key fronts in the effort to protect the Arctic Refuge.
The first is Earthjustice and NRDC’s ongoing litigation, which asks the court to cancel the leasing program and leases entirely because the previous administration ignored federal law when approving the leases.
The second is the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that the Biden administration is conducting in light of the deficiencies of the previous administration’s Environmental Impact Statement. The Bureau of Land Management (the agency that manages the Arctic Refuge) is soliciting public comment as to how they should conduct the study. These are due on October 4, and they provide you with a great opportunity to raise your voice in defense of the Refuge.
Earthjustice’s attorneys are hard at work on the lawsuit to cancel the leases, but we could really use your help to tell the Bureau of Land Management why the Arctic Refuge should not be drilled for oil.
The coastal plain, where the leases were sold, is the biological heart of the Refuge — and one of the Earth’s last fully intact ecosystems. It is where the 200,000 caribou of the Porcupine Herd birth and raise their young each year. The Gwich’in People, whose way of life and culture depend on the herd, consider the coastal plain sacred. It’s also home to polar bears, and birds from all 50 states gather there to breed every summer.
This could be our best shot to protect the Arctic Refuge for a long time. The comment period deadline is in less than a month. Bureaucrats at the Bureau of Land Management need to hear your voice, and they need to hear it now. Please join us in telling them to protect the Arctic Refuge from reckless oil drilling.