trump oil drilling Bernhardt arctic national wildlife refuge department of interior land leases sale coastal plains oil gas billions environment indigenous groups GOP biden ANWR
US Fish and Wildlife Service/Getty Images
 This undated photo shows the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. In 2003, The U.S. Senate voted not to allow drilling for oil in the refuge. Now, the Trump administration is planning to sell leases for drilling access to oil and gas companies in the region’s northeast Coastal Plain.

Lawmakers are seeking to block further drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) by designating its coastal plain as wilderness.

The legislation comes as a last-minute lease sale held by the Trump administration raised just $14.4 million dollars, well below the billion dollars a 2017 bill projected the government would earn alongside a second sale. 

“After a recent failed set of lease sales, it’s clear that Republicans’ promises of a major fiscal windfall from development on the coastal plain were really a major fiscal flop,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the sponsors, said in a release.

“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is worthy of protection, with deep value to Arctic communities and to the nation as a whole,” he said. “In tandem with efforts to safeguard the Refuge from harm, we encourage meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples regarding the use, management, and conservation of the coastal plain.”

President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office placing a temporary moratorium on oil and gas activity in ANWR, but the new legislation would block the mandated second lease sale required under the 2017 law.

“It’s time we put these failed special interest boondoggles behind us and reverse the damage done by the past administration. Building upon President Biden’s swift action to protect the Arctic, we must work side-by-side with the Indigenous Peoples of the coastal plain to permanently protect and manage these treasured public lands,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who sponsored the bill in the House.

While Democrats are seeking to expand Biden’s efforts, many Republicans have introduced bills to block some of the president’s fossil fuels moves.

GOP lawmakers have introduced bills to block an order temporarily suspending oil and gas leases on federal lands and Biden’s order revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tags ANWR Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling Ed Markey Jared Huffman
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