The Arctic Refuge

Nearly a month ago, the Trump Administration stated they planned to sell the “oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge” located in Alaska on January 6th, 2021. Their goal was to sell these drilling rights before the installment of President-Elect Joe R. Biden. The Arctic Refuge is located in Northern Alaska, just west of the Canadian border. The refuge is 19 million acres of “virtually pristine wilderness, almost untouched by people and home to migrating caribou, polar bears, and other wildlife.”

Up to 1.5 million acres of this vital refuge would be up for sale. This sale would mark the largest and most significant effort of the Trump administration to expand domestic fossil fuel production. The American Petroleum Institute was highly in favor of this sale because it would both provide jobs and further decrease oil prices in the United States. However, many environmentalists and native Alaskans oppose the sale because it would be detrimental to the already endangered species living there and the increasing carbon footprint of the United States energy production.

The selling of the leases on January 6th would only be the beginning of the process to gain access to the possible oil reserves buried there. In addition to environmentalists and native Alaskan groups, some oil companies are not interested in the sale because of the possible dent in their reputations. After petitioning from conservationists on, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason approved the sale of leases to oil and gas drilling companies in the Arctic Refuge on January 6th. On January 7th, the sales for the leases of twenty-two tracts of land became available. Only eleven of the tracts were purchased, and no big oil companies bid on them.

The sale still remains a deeply controversial topic among the American people, with oil enthusiasts fighting against native peoples and conservationists.

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