US President Biden has suspended permits to explore for oil and gas at the Alaska Wildlife Sanctuary.
And so he puts a tentative line in a controversial decision made by his predecessor Trump, who sold off permits in the closing days of his presidency in January.
Indigenous groups and environmentalists had filed lawsuits, claiming that the licensing of the remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was based on flawed environmental assessments.
White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy welcomed Biden’s decision. “Otherwise, the character of this special place could have changed forever.”
Can’t talk about Alaska. The state had hoped to give a boost to its economy with the permits it had partially purchased itself. “Our permits are valid and cannot be withdrawn by the federal government,” Governor Mike Dunleavy said in a statement.
“I oppose this attack on Alaska’s economy and will use all means to undo this fatal federal mistake.”
Biden announced his intention to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the state’s northeast during his presidential campaign. Polar bears, reindeer and migratory birds live in the reserve.
Due to the sensitivities surrounding the licenses, the major oil and gas companies did not participate in the auction in January.
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