Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, October 27, 2021

U.S.

U.S. orders new review of drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge

(Reuters) -The Biden administration said on Tuesday it would conduct a new environmental review of oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The widely anticipated move comes two months after the Department of Interior said it would suspend drilling leases handed out for the refuge during the final days of the Trump administration.

During his campaign, President Joe Biden pledged to protect the 19.6 million-acre pristine habitat for polar bears, caribou and migratory birds.

When it suspended the leases, the Interior Department said it would conduct a new environmental analysis to determine whether the leases would stand, be voided, or be subject to mitigation measures.

The administration signaled on Tuesday that it would kick off that review with a notice posted on a federal government website. The analysis will address “deficiencies” identified in what is known as the environmental impact statement conducted during the administration of then-President Donald Trump, the notice said.

Trump’s Interior Department sold the leases in the refuge in January over the objections of environmentalists and indigenous groups. The Alaskan state government had hoped that opening the enormous refuge would help revive its declining oil industry.

Leases were issued for nine tracts covering 430,000 acres. An Alaska state agency holds most of them, while private companies Knik Arm Services LLC and Regenerate Alaska Inc each hold one lease.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang)

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