DENVER -- The Biden administration will suspend all leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending environmental review of the impacts of drilling in this pristine area, according to reports. This announcement follows a Jan. 20 Executive Order that temporarily halted all leasing activities in the refuge. The Trump administration had rushed through a lease sale in early January with leases to nine tracts of land awarded.
Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:
“This is a welcome announcement and another strong step toward protecting the refuge. Thanks to President Biden’s action in January and today, the caribou and polar bears can live undisturbed by heavy equipment, roads and pollution from drilling operations. For now, we can breathe a little easier knowing that the seismic testing “thumper trucks” are not going to be driving into the refuge.
“While this buys some time, the fight to protect this unique and pristine area is not over. We’re calling on Congress to establish permanent protections for this wild, remote area. Oil leases should never have been sold in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and we now need our leaders to make sure it never happens again. We need more nature, more baby caribou, more denning polar bears and more wildlife. Here’s what we don’t need: dredging up fossil fuels in a wildlife refuge.”