On September 12th, the Trump administration announced its final plan to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The refuge, a 19-million-acre area of wilderness, is home to countless species of precious wildlife and some of the coolest fly fishing experiences Alaska can offer. The proposed drilling area would open up 1.56 million acres of the entire coastal plain to oil drilling.
Those in favor of the drilling argue that the proposed lease will bring revenue to the federal Treasury and bolster the struggling Alaska economy. But from a conservationist’s point of view, the issue is clear. With warming temperatures and the looming effects of climate change, the delicate ecosystem could be forever disrupted as the refuge is home to countless Polar Bears, Caribou, wolves, migratory birds, and lest we forget, amazing char, salmon and trout fishing.
“Unfortunately, this sham environmental impact statement ignores the overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates the unprecedented risks to wildlife that would result from drilling in the Coastal Plain,” said Collin O’Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation, a conservation group. “Alaskans, tribes, and conservationists all agree that this is the wrong approach.”
The plan is expected to be challenged legally by conservationists. We will continue to post updates about this story as they develop.