Plan to Auction Oil Drilling Rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Finalized

The Trump administration has a new signature achievement, in finalizing a plan to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

2 minute read

August 18, 2020, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Dalton highway and Trans-Alaska Pipeline

The Trans-Alaska pipeline and the Dalton Highway cut across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge near Galbraith Lake. | inEthos Design / Shutterstock

"The Trump administration finalized plans Monday to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, a move that will auction off oil and gas rights in the heart of one of the nation’s most iconic wild places," reports Juliet Eilperin.

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been a goal fo the Republican party for 40 years, according to Eilperin, who describes the plan as a capstone achievement for the Trump administration.

"The move will allow leasing on the 1.6 million-acre coastal plain, the center of a nearly pristine wilderness home to migrating caribou and waterfowl as well as polar bears and foxes that live there year-round," writes Eilperin. "It marks a major step toward reviving fossil fuel development in an area that has been untouched for three decades."

Environmentalists and Native American tribes who live in and around the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have pledged to fight the plan in court.

A "record of decision" published this week by the Bureau of Land Management paves the way for construction of as many as four airstrips and well pads, 175 miles of roads, vertical supports for pipelines, a seawater-treatment plant and a barge landing and storage site, according to Eilperin.

The article includes more details about the geographic scope of the refuge, and the animals that make their habitat there. Also included is a timeline for the auctioning of oil drilling rights in the refuge.

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