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Rush to Auction Off Pristine Arctic Habitat Threatens Wildlife, Indigenous People

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration’s rush to sell off parcels of pristine habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas developers will have dire consequences for wildlife and the Gwich’in people who depend on the pristine coastal plain.

“Despite overwhelming science illustrating the devastating impacts of drilling in the Arctic, the administration is doing everything it can in its last ten weeks to plunder one of the last truly wild places on earth,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “We encourage potential bidders not to participate in an auction process that will harm hundreds of species of wildlife and over the objections of the Native Gwich’in people.”

In the coming weeks, the Trump administration will allow oil and gas companies to identify tracts of land to bid on for an upcoming auction on nearly 1.6 million acres of the coastal plain of the wildlife refuge. The area is home to more than 270 species of wildlife including polar bears, musk oxen, porcupine caribou, and more than 200 bird species. Scores of scientific studies have shown that drilling in this region would have a devastating effect on wildlife and would exacerbate climate change. A poll conducted last fall by Yale University showed that two-thirds of Americans are opposed to oil and gas development because of the environmental damage it would cause.

 

 

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