The Trump administration intends to auction off rights for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The initial auction is set for Dec. 22, 2021. 1.6 million acres of the pristine Arctic coastal plain will be open for leasing to companies for drilling. Republicans have called for the opening up of the refuge for 40 years. The area has remained untouched for more than three decades. 'President Trump’s leadership brought more than three decades of inaction to an end ... This is no ordinary oil and gas program on public lands,' David Bernhardt, U.S. Interior Secretary, via 'The Washington Post'.
Alaska natives who depend upon wildlife that would be threatened by drilling have vowed to sue the Trump administration. The land is home to more than 270 species of wildlife, including polar bears, caribou, musk oxen and snow geese. The Interior Department's draft plan for creating an infrastructure to support the drilling includes vertical support for pipelines, up to four airstrips and 175 miles of roads.