During a trip to Alaska that included a visit to the North Slope, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Joe Balash spoke this morning at a breakfast meeting in Anchorage and expressed the Trump administration’s desire to pursue an aggressive timeline for oil and gas exploration and drilling on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
In response, The Wilderness Society released the following statement from Alaska Regional Director Nicole Whittington-Evans:
“The Trump administration is in a headlong rush to sell off America’s public lands for development, and cannot possibly complete important processes or fully consider the concerns of local communities in their attempt to drill at the earliest possible date. Their haste will not allow time to evaluate relevant information or make informed decisions about the negative impacts of oil and gas development on the sensitive coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
“Sen. Lisa Murkowski hijacked the federal budget process to open the Arctic Refuge for development because a stand-alone bill would not have passed. Now the Trump administration is committing another egregious violation of public trust by attempting to fast-track exploration and lease sales,” Whittington-Evans added. “This administration cannot possibly evaluate all of the relevant information and make informed decisions about the impacts of oil and gas on the refuge’s coastal plain in such a short amount of time.”
The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.