The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is a nearly 20 million-acre large national treasure. It’s the largest piece of untouched land in the U.S., home to polar bears, Porcupine caribou, and migratory birds. But it won’t be pristine for much longer if President Donald Trump has his way. His administration released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) Thursday laying out its plan to open up 1.6 million acres of the refuge to oil and gas drilling. This part of the refuge, known as the coastal plain, sits on the North Slope of Alaska along the Beaufort Sea. It’s an expanse of land where the Porcupine caribou come to deliver their calves in the summer and where polar bears den during the winter. The public knew this EIS was coming, as the administration has been clear about its plan to begin selling leases on the coastal plain come 2019. Environmental activists and Alaska Natives who oppose the proposal also figured the EIS would be unsatisfactory, arguing that no proper environmental review could be accomplished in such a short time. Now that the draft is out, environmental groups are already criticizing it for using outdated science and conducing an inadequate risk analysis for oil spill impacts and climate change. “We have to be clear what this is,” said Adam Kolton, the executive director for the Alaska Wilderness League, to Earther. “This is not a legitimate effort to do something in a way that would reduce the risk to wildlife or indigenous people…. [Read full story]
Earther’s mission is to write impactful stories about how humans are affecting life on Earth, and what that means for our collective future. We love geeking out over the weather, sharing the latest conservation success stories, and reminding you that climate change is very real. We strive to make Earther a friendly, inclusive site for everyone interested in the future of life on the Blue Marble, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.