Feds finalize plan to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling

L.A.TIMES

The Trump administration announced Thursday its final plan to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, giving the petroleum industry access to the pristine wildland for the first time. The plan would allow oil leasing on 1.56 million acres of the 19-million-acre refuge. The proposal — which would open the entire coastal plain to the energy industry — was seen as the most extreme of three options considered by the Interior Department. Supporters have argued it will result in a windfall for the federal Treasury and revive Alaska’s struggling economy. But opponents have said that opening the refuge to oil leasing could do irreversible damage to a region already destabilized by warming temperatures and other effects of climate change. The refuge is home to large numbers of polar bears, caribou, wolves and migratory birds.

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