Indigenous, Conservation Groups Sue Trump Administration for Illegal Arctic Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Wildlife Federation joined a coalition of Indigenous communities and conservation groups in a lawsuit filed today against the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management for finalizing an illegal plan to allow oil and gas companies to drill in in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The administration’s proposal would allow leasing throughout the 1.5 million acre coastal area, which serves as birthing and calving grounds for the porcupine caribou herd and denning grounds for an array of mammals such as wolves and endangered polar bears.

“Drilling in the Arctic will irreparably scar one of the last remaining wild places on earth. Polar bears, porcupine caribou, musk oxen, and millions of migratory birds depend on this pristine habitat for their survival,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “By flagrantly disregarding the advice of the federal government’s top wildlife biologists and failing to follow numerous laws, the Trump administration has left us no choice but to file this lawsuit in solidarity with the Gwich’in Nation to stop this reckless plan to drill in the crown jewel of wildlife refuges.”  

The lawsuit charges the administration with violating the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Endangered Species Act. 

The administration has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit.

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