Newsnot everyone agrees

    not everyone agrees

    In an aggressive move that angered Republicans, the Biden administration on Wednesday canceled all seven contracts of oil and gas leases remaining in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaskacanceling sales made in the final days of the Trump administration, and proposed stricter protections against development in vast swaths of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

    The Interior Department’s cancellation of the leases comes after the Biden administration dispointed environmental groups earlier this year by proving the Willow oil project in the oil reserve, a major ConocoPhillips Alaska project that could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day on Alaska’s North Slope.

    Protections are now proposed for more than 51,800 square kilometers of land in the Western Arctic reserve.

    Some critics who said Willow’s proval ran counter to Biden’s promises to address climate change They praised Wednesday’s announcement. But they said more could be done. The Willow project continues pending judicial resolution.

    “Alaska is home to many of America’s most impressive natural wonders and areas of great cultural significance. As the climate crisis warms the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, We have the responsibility to protect that precious region for all time,” Biden said in a statement.

    His measures “respond to the urgency of the climate crisis” and “will protect our lands and waters for generations to come,” Biden said.


    Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who has received criticism for her role in proving the Willow project, said Wednesday that “no one will have the right to drill for oil in one of the most sensitive landsces on EarthHowever, a 2017 law mandates another lease sale by the end of 2024. Administration officials said they intend to comply with the law.

    Alaska is home to many of America’s most impressive natural wonders. Photo: AP

    The Biden administration also announced proposed rules aimed at strengthen protection against new tenancies and operations in areas of the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve designated as special areas for their natural, subsistence, scenic or other values. The proposal must still be submitted for public comment. Willow is located within the reservation, but the project is not expected to be affected by the proposed rules.

    The coastal plain of 600,000 hectares of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which stretches along the Beaufort Sea at the northeastern tip of Alaska, is considered sacred by the Gwich’in Indians because it is the place where they migrate and give birth to their young the caribou on which they depend.

    On the plain there are hills, rivers and small lakes and tundra. Migratory birds and caribou traverse the plain, which provides habitat for wild animals such as polar bears and wolves.

    Caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, land considered sacred by indigenous people.  Photo: APCaribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, land considered sacred by indigenous people. Photo: AP

    “I am deeply irritated by the revocation of these leases at ANWR,” said Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, using a common way of referring to the shelter.

    “This administration demonstrated that it can listen to Alaskans with the proval of Project Willow, and it is some of those same North Slope Inupiat communities that are most affected by this decision. I will continue to advocate for them and for Alaska’s ability to explore and develop our natural resources”.

    Alaska’s congressional delegation in 2017 succeeded in adding a paragrh to a federal tax law that called on the U.S. government to carry out two lease sales in the region by the end of 2024.

    A polar bear and her cubs in the protected area on the Beaufort Sea.  Photo: ReutersA polar bear and her cubs in the protected area on the Beaufort Sea. Photo: Reuters

    Opponents of drilling urged Congress on Wednesday to repeal the lease provision of the 2017 law already permanently ban drilling in the coastal plain.

    “It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of today’s announcements for arctic conservation“said Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society. “Once again, the Arctic Refuge is free of oil leases. “Our climate is a little safer, and hope is renewed to permanently protect one of America’s last great wild landsces.”

    Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, criticized Biden’s actions, saying they were the latest salvo in what he called a “war against Alaska.”

    Many welcomed Biden's move toward Arctic conservation.  Photo: APMany welcomed Biden’s move toward Arctic conservation. Photo: AP

    After taking office, Biden issued an executive order calling for a temporary moratorium of activities related to the leasing program and that the Secretary of the Interior review the program. Later in 2021, Haaland ordered a new environmental review after concluding there were “multiple legal deficiencies” in the Trump-era leasing program. Haaland paused activities related to the leasing program pending the new analysis.

    A draft of the environmental review was published on Wednesday.

    The Alaska Export and Industrial Development Authority, a state corporation that obtained seven leases in the 2021 sale, filed a lawsuit over the moratorium. However, a federal judge recently ruled that Interior’s delay in conducting a new analysis was not unreasonable.

    The corporation obtained the leases to preserve drilling rights in case the oil companies failed to show up. Major oil companies did not participate in the sale, held after prominent banks announced they would not finance oil and gas projects in the Arctic.

    Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, thanked the administration for the cancellation of leases, but issued a warning.

    “We know that our sacred land is only temporarily safe from oil and gas exploitation,” he declared. “We urge the administration and our leaders in Congress to repeal the oil and gas program and permanently protect the Arctic Refuge”.

    With reporting by Becky Bohrer and Mathew Daly, Associated Press

    Translation: Elisa Carnelli

    Source: Clarin

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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