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Trump moving toward energy exploration in Arctic wildlife refuge: report

Trump moving toward energy exploration in Arctic wildlife refuge: report
© Greg Nash

The Trump administration is working to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for the first time in more than three decades, The Washington Post reported Friday.

In a memo dated Aug. 11, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director James Kurth directed the agency's regional director for Alaska to get rid of the time constraints listed in a rule that allowed exploratory drilling in the refuge between Oct. 1, 1984 and May 31, 1986. 

"When finalized, the new regulation will allow for applicants to [submit] requests for approval of new exploration plans,” the memo reads, according to the Post.

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That memo also notes that the Fish and Wildlife Service was asked to update the rule by the Interior Department, though it isn't clear who requested the change.

If the rule change is finalized, companies would then bid to conduct seismic studies of the area.

Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior shortlist puts focus on New Mexico lawmakers | Progressives criticize Biden transition over volunteer who represented Exxon | Trump DOJ appointees stalled investigation into Zinke: report Trump DOJ appointees stalled investigation into Zinke: report GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte wins Montana governor's race MORE said that he hoped to update resource assessments of ANWR, suggesting that doing so could spur energy exploration in the region. 

An Interior official told the Post that the agency is required to allow seismic surveys in Alaskan wildlife refuges.

But the Obama administration, as well as the Clinton administration, determined that Interior could not conduct seismic studies in ANWR.