Trump administration takes first steps toward drilling in Alaskas Arctic refuge

first_img The Trump administration’s reckless dash to expedite drilling and destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will only hasten a trip to the courthouse. Hillebrand/USFWS “The Department of the Interior is pursuing an irresponsibly aggressive timeline for Arctic Refuge drilling that reflects the Trump administration’s eagerness to turn over America’s public lands to private industry for development,” Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “They are taking reckless shortcuts that are a terrible violation of public trust.”Tomorrow’s notice sets in motion a 60-day comment period on BLM’s intention to prepare the review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt last year directed agency staff to limit NEPA reviews to one year and 150 pages (Greenwire, Sept. 6, 2017). It’s unclear whether those restrictions will apply to the ANWR analysis, but Bernhardt has publicly stated that he expects the EIS to be complete within a year. Balash has said Bernhardt’s projections are overly optimistic (Energywire, March 12).”By putting the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the hands of former oil industry lobbyist David Bernhardt, Secretary Zinke has made clear that this rushed environmental review process will be nothing more than a kangaroo court,” Matt Lee-Ashley, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.Environmental groups told the Trump administration to brace for a legal battle.”The Trump administration’s reckless dash to expedite drilling and destroy the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will only hasten a trip to the courthouse,” Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “We will not stand by and watch them desecrate this fragile landscape.”Lawmakers responded largely along party lines.”We welcome this scoping announcement and the Department’s continued work to implement our legislation opening the Coastal Plain to responsible energy development,” Alaska’s congressional delegation, all Republicans, said in a joint statement. “We appreciate the Department following the law, planning multiple public meetings with Alaskans, and moving forward on this important program to help ensure the energy and economic security of our nation.”House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and eight Democratic colleagues today sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke objecting to the “needless haste” toward leasing in ANWR.”This administration’s naked greed and corporate favoritism have become an ongoing self-parody,” Grijalva said in a statement. “This is the kind of rushed policy that gets made during a backroom deal, not a careful assessment of public opinion and scientific data. President Trump and Secretary Zinke count drilling in the Arctic Refuge as a win because it upsets Americans they don’t like, not because it will have any public benefit.”Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2018. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.netPrevious coverage on ScienceInsider:Drilling in Arctic refuge could put North America’s largest caribou herd at risk Read more… Email Drilling would be limited to the 1.6-million-acre coastal plain. The region is believed to hold large oil and gas resources but also provides habitat for species like the polar bear and Porcupine caribou.”Developing our resources on the coastal plain is an important facet for meeting our nation’s energy demands and achieving energy dominance,” said Interior’s assistant secretary for land and minerals management, Joe Balash. “This scoping process begins the first step in developing a responsible path forward. I look forward to personally visiting the communities most affected by this process and hearing their concerns.”Under the terms of a landmark tax reform bill, which opened the door for drilling in ANWR, Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must hold at least two lease sales before December 2024 (E&E Daily, Dec. 20, 2017). Those sales will occur in the areas of the refuge with the highest hydrocarbon potential, according to the notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS).The move drew immediate reaction from both sides of the drilling debate.”This is just the first step in a very long process that the Department of Interior will have to go through to fulfill their obligations as directed in the Tax Act,” said Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association in Anchorage.She highlighted BLM’s commitment to meeting with interested groups across Alaska. BLM will hold five public scoping meetings in Anchorage, Arctic Village, Fairbanks, Kaktovik and Utqiagvik, the notice says.”Leasing in ANWR will not happen overnight,” Moriarty said.Opponents of the leasing strategy criticize the process as too rapid. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Originally published by E&E NewsDepartment of Interior officials today mapped out their first steps toward allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.The four-page notice of an environmental review, scheduled for publication in tomorrow’s Federal Register, sets the stage for oil and gas leasing within the 19-million-acre refuge.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Jamie Rappaport Clark, Defenders of Wildlife Trump administration takes first steps toward drilling in Alaska’s Arctic refuge The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the northern coast of Alaska By Pamela King, E&E NewsApr. 19, 2018 , 2:20 PMlast_img read more