Permanent Protection, Non -Temporary Rowing Prohibition, Needed to Protect Arctic Refuge for Future Generations • Protecting Children’s Health


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Environmental campaigners in Alaska and across the country have been wary of celebrating the Biden administration’s decision to suspend some fossil fuel leases sold in the Arctic before former President Donald Trump stepped down as he called also in Congress to provide permanent protections to one of the planet’s most areas are biodiverse.

“We strongly support the Biden administration’s commitment to preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the last large -scale untouched turbulent areas in America,” said Kristen Miller, acting executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League. “The lease program and the resulting lease sale are the result [of] a cause of error and legal process that needs to be reversed. ”

“The suspension of these leases is a step in the right direction and we commend the Biden administration for conducting a new analysis of the program that prioritizes good science and adequate tribal consultation,” he continued. Miller. “The Arctic Coastal Plain refuge is sacred to the Gwich’in people who have been ignored by the Trump administration, as well as the Iñupiat who have lived on the Coastal Plain for generations.”

“There’s still a lot to do,” he added. “As long as leases are not canceled, this threat will continue in one of the wildest areas left in America. Now we look to the administration and Congress to prioritize the practice of repealing the oil leasing mandate and restoring the protections of the Arctic Coastal Plain refuge.

Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, echoed the call for further action.

“After the struggle to protect the lands and the Porcupine caribou herd, relying on the guidance of our ancestors and elders, and the allies of people around the world, we can now seek further action by the administration and Congress. to eliminate the rental. program, “he said.” There is more that needs to be done to protect the lands for future generations. “

Citing “alleged legal shortcomings,” President Joe Biden said issued an executive order on his first day in office presiding over the interior secretary to impose a temporary moratorium on all activities related to the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program at the 19.6 million -hectare Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and conduct a new, comprehensive analysis of potential environmental impacts.

New Interior Secretary Deb Haalad order ordered the department to analyze the rental program under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Gina McCarthy, the White House climate policy adviser, said Tuesday that Biden “believes that America’s national resources are the cultural and economic fundamentals of our country and she is grateful for the Department’s swift action. of the Interior to suspend all leases pending review of decisions made in the last days of the last administration that could change the character of the special area forever. ”

Politico noticed that “the move comes after the Biden administration disappointed environmental groups last week by providing support for the development of the Willoc project at ConocoPhillips in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the area west of ANWR.”

Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change at Columbia Law School, SAY the New York Times that the move would help comfort critics of that judgment.

“This will help reinforce the president’s good moves in opposing major new fossil fuel projects,” Gerrard said. “He doesn’t have a 100% clean record about it. This is the specific step that will make the environmental community smile, this coming time, because of recent actions that environmentalists do not like.

While the campaigners praised the nature of ANWR’s operation, they also stressed the importance of the administration to further protect ANWR’s 1.56 million acre Coastal Plain.

“This is a congratulatory announcement and another strong step toward protecting the shelter,” said public lands campaign director Ellen Montgomery. “Thanks to President Biden’s action in January and today, caribou and polar bears can survive unscathed by heavy equipment, roads and pollution from drilling operations. For now, we can breathe a little to know that seismic test ‘thumper trucks’ will not bring refuge. ”

“While it’s been buying some time, the struggle to protect this unique and clean place is not over,” he said. “We call on Congress to provide permanent protections for this remote, remote area. Oil rents should not be sold at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and we now need our leaders to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We need lots of nature, lots of baby caribou, even more rejection of polar bears and lots of wildlife. Here’s what we didn’t need: dredging up fossil fuels in a wildlife shade. ”

Si Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), A chief leading climate legislation in Congress, also welcomed the suspension, saying the “decision today is an important step in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, protecting people and species that rely on this vital wildlife and avoid unnecessary climate and environmental damage. ”

“The shelter needs more to stop, it needs permanent protection. A new analysis will tell us what we already know, that the shelter is a special place and can never be opened to “I remain committed to passing my Arctic Refuge Protection Act and permanently protecting this unique and vulnerable habitat from oil and gas leasing and development,” the senator added, referring to the aka law also introduced in February.

Without congressional action, the federal government would be legal needed to hold two more rental sales in late 2024, thanks to what critics call the 2017 Trump tax scam.

The sale in early January was followed by decades of political fights over drilling in the region, but did not attract any interest from major players in the fossil fuel industry.

As Politico details:

Despite the oil industry’s long efforts to open the shelter, the lease sale stalled, and only got $ 14.4 million in revenue and bids from just three players, none of the main driver of oil and gas. Seven of the nine bids went to the Alaska Investment Development and Export Authority, a state-owned corporation that was urged to join former Alaska Governors. Bill Walker and Frank Murkowski, who expressed concerns that the industry would not show interest in the sale.

“In addition to AIDEA, Knik Arm Services, a real estate and leasing firm, and Regenerate Alaska, a subsidiary of Australian oil and gas company 88 Energy, each took out a tract.

“The leases were signed and issued on January 19.”

Greenpeace USA climate campaign director Janet Redman said Tuesday that “the disastrous idea of ​​opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to gasoline and gas corporations is nothing more than an eleventh hour. favoring fossil fuel billionaires from the previous administration. “

“It didn’t make sense in the past and because oil demand continues to decline and climate effects damaging all over the world there is no reason now, ”Redman added. “Scientists are clear that 100% of Arctic oil and gas should remain on the ground if we take a limit. global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius as stipulated in the Paris agreement. ”

“The bar for President Biden and his administration is not yet whether they can reverse the climate degradation of the previous administration, but whether they will do what science and justice demand to end the climate crisis,” he said. “We fully expect President Biden to keep his promise departure from fossil fuel and transfer 100% renewable energy. This includes ending the lease of oil and gas on all federal lands and oceans. ”

Originally published on Common Dreams.





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