The Trump administration is in a reckless rush to sell off America’s public lands for oil and gas development, and the Alaska Legislature is recklessly jumping on the bandwagon with Senate Joint Resolution 7, which calls for an oil and gas lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Focused on a March 13 federal deadline for public comment, state legislators held rushed hearings and hurried votes. Two minutes of testimony per Alaskan is not enough to time to speak beyond introducing oneself and making a single point.
Large numbers of Alaskans oppose drilling in the refuge and turned out to say so during Bureau of Land Management hearings in Fairbanks and Anchorage in February. They believe this iconic landscape that is the calving and nursing grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd should be protected for Alaska Natives and future generations.
Our legislators would do well to recognize the flaws in the Bureau of Land Management’s draft environmental impact statement and the administration’s irresponsibly accelerated timeline for selling this beautiful and near-pristine landscape to the oil industry.
— Lois Epstein, P.E.
Arctic Program Director, The Wilderness Society
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