FILE PHOTO: Three polar bears are seen on the Beaufort Sea coast within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library on December 21, 2005. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Image Library/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans Monday that would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The pristine, wildlife refuge remains a decades-long battleground between environmentalists and energy activists.

The plan makes the entire 1.5-million-acre coastal refuge available for leasing to oil and gas companies. Leases could be sold by the end of the year. Environmentalists said the refuge is home to thousands of endangered species, including caribou and polar bears, and drilling could end their existence and exacerbate climate change. They also said Monday they would challenge the plans in court.

But Interior Secretary David Bernhardt called the plans “a new chapter in energy independence” and said the move could create thousands of jobs. He also said the government acted on Trump’s 2017 executive order that mandated two lease sales in the refuge by 2024.   

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

These Maps Paint a Dark Future for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge If Trump Has His Way – Earther – 1/31/2020
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the last pristine landscapes in America. Tucked along the northern border of Alaska and Canada, the nearly 20 million acres of wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife species, including the Porcupine caribou herd, which visits the refuge’s coastal plain every summer where mothers give birth to their young.

American Towns Don’t Want To Be Big Cities’ ‘Green Energy’ Graveyards – The Federalist – 7/29/2020
While the coronavirus recession has sapped demand for energy and put fracking companies on the ropes – with hundreds of bankruptcies declared so far – the renewables that would replace oil and coal are facing a growing challenge that will last long after the pandemic: The resistance of rural communities to mammoth solar or wind farms that can power cities.

Interior approves oil-and-gas leasing program for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – The Washington Times – 8/17/2020
The Interior Department issued its final order Monday for a commercial leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, moving to unlock a potential oil-and-gas gusher in the Alaska wilderness and underscoring the Trump administration’s energy independence push.

Interior Secretary Approves Oil Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Refuge – Wall Street Journal – 8/17/2020
The Trump administration approved an oil leasing program for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Monday, opening up the pristine 19-million-acre wilderness to drilling for the first time and making it difficult to unwind the decision should Democrats recapture the White House in November.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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