Trump administration pushes for Arctic drilling by arguing 'there is not a climate crisis'

Trump administration pushes for Arctic drilling by arguing 'there is not a climate crisis'

The Trump administration, in its push for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, is arguing the project should go forward because "there is not a climate crisis."

The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) environmental impact statement, released this month, is the last step before drilling leases can be sold on a piece of wilderness in Alaska that House Democrats have sought to protect.

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The BLM document contains language, first reported by E&E News on Monday, that spells out the administration's response to opponents who argue drilling in the Arctic will hasten climate change.

“The BLM does not agree that the proposed development is inconsistent with maintaining a livable planet (i.e., there is not a climate crisis),” the agency wrote in its review.

“The planet was much warmer within the past 1,000 years, prior to the Little Ice Age, based on extensive archaeological evidence (such as farming in Greenland and vineyards in England). This warmth did not make the planet unlivable; rather, it was a time when societies prospered,” the impact statement says.

Environmental groups pointed out that there are, of course, serious downsides to a warming planet.

“The Bureau of Land Management’s statement is simply false and shockingly out-of-step with what mainstream science tells us,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“This is nothing more than a coordinated disinformation effort by the administration to deny the science, roll back climate policies, and actually drive up carbon emissions at a time when urgent cuts are needed,” she said.

BLM favors the option to offer lease sales across 1.56 million acres of Alaska’s coastal plains. Officials say they anticipate holding lease sales before the end of the year.