Updated: August 18, 2020 05:39 PM
Created: August 17, 2020 09:05 AM
The Department of the Interior on Monday approved an oil and gas leasing program within Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the sprawling home to polar bears, caribou and other wildlife.
Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed the Record of Decision, which will determine where oil and gas leasing will take place in the refuge's coastal plain, a 1.56-million-acre swath of land on Alaska's north shore with the Beaufort Sea.
"Congress directed us to hold lease sales in the ANWR Coastal Plain, and we have taken a significant step in meeting our obligations by determining where and under what conditions the oil and gas development program will occur," Bernhardt said in a statement.
Congress approved the program in 2017, and the Interior's Bureau of Land Management in December 2018 concluded drilling could be conducted within the coastal plain area without harming wildlife.
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