Biden suspends oil leases during Arctic refuge oil trial | Environmental News

U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order on Jan. 20 said a new environmental review is needed to address possible legal flaws in a drilling program approved by the Trump administration.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has suspended oil and gas leases at Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as it reviews the environmental impacts of drilling on the remote region that is the focus of a fight. in politics for decades, according to two people spoken of in the administration’s plan.

The U.S. Department of the Interior order is set to be announced later Tuesday. This follows a temporary suspension of oil and gas rental activities imposed by Biden on his first day in office. The Biden executive order on Jan. 20 suggested a new environmental review is needed to address possible legal flaws in a drilling program approved by former President Donald Trump’s administration under a law 2017 approved by Congress.

People questioned the plan being asked to identify because the plan had not been officially released.

The remote, 19.6 million-hectare sanctuary is inhabited by polar bears, caribou, snowy Owl and other wildlife, including migratory birds from six continents. Republicans and the oil industry have long tried to open the wildlife refuge, considered sacred to Native Gwich’in, for drilling. Democrats, environmental groups and some Native Alaskan tribes are trying to block it.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, an agency of the Interior Department, conducted a lease sale for the shelter’s beach field on Jan. 6, two weeks before Biden took office. Eight days later the agency signed leases on nine tracts totaling almost 1,774 sq km (685sq miles). However, the release of the rents was not announced publicly until Jan. 19, Trump’s last full day in office.

Biden opposes drilling in the region, and environmental groups are pushing for permanent protections, which Biden called for during the leadership campaign.

The administration’s action to suspend leases comes after officials disappointed groups around last week by defending the Trump administration’s decision to approve a major oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. . Critics say the action will fly in the face of Biden’s promises to tackle climate change.

The U.S. Department of Justice tells a court filing that rivals of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Willow project seek to halt growth by “picking the cherry” on federal agencies ’records. to claim violations of environmental law. The filing defends the scrutiny that supported last fall’s decision to approve project plans.

A coalition of groups has filed a lawsuit to repeal Trump-era approval. An appeals court earlier this year suspended certain construction activities, and the parties to the case later agreed to extend the limits on construction activity until Dec. 1 while the underlying case continues.

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