US Construction planned to prepare Alaska's Arctic refuge for oil drilling

05:35  08 june  2018
05:35  08 june  2018 Source:   reuters.com

Companies take first steps to drill for oil in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

  Companies take first steps to drill for oil in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Their permit application for seismic testing in Alaskan wilderness is “not adequate,” Interior Department says.But while President Trump, congressional Republicans, the oil industry and Alaskan leaders have been pushing hard to develop the refuge that had been off-limits to petroleum exploration for more than three decades, the Interior Department’s initial response to the consortium’s permit application was scathing.

Polar Bear sow and two cubs in the Arctic Refuge 's 1002 area targeted for oil drilling . NRDC: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - Protecting Life on the › Trump Calls Alaska ' s A year ago today, President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

Jump to navigation Jump to search. The question of whether to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has been an ongoing political controversy in the United States since 1977. As of 2017, Republicans have attempted to allow drilling in ANWR almost fifty times

a large white polar bear standing next to a dog: FILE PHOTO: A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge © REUTERS/File Photo FILE PHOTO: A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Trump administration said on Thursday it would spend $4 million on construction projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in preparation for oil drilling in the nation's biggest wildlife park.

In an announcement that touted planned improvements to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visitor facilities, the Department of the Interior said it has approved spending on projects for "Oil Exploration Readiness" in the coastal plain of the Arctic refuge.

The Trump administration is pushing for an oil lease sale in the refuge to be held as early as next year. The tax-overhaul bill passed by the U.S. Congress last December includes a provision mandating two oil lease sales, each offering at least 400,000 acres (161,874.26 hectares), within seven years.

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Robert Dillon, Murkowski’ s spokesman, declined to divulge her plans for next year, but Manuel said that for Alaska lawmakers, the ANWR drilling issue comes down to providing enough oil so that the state can run its essential programs. “I don’t support drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge ,” she said.

Congress Is About to Allow Oil Drilling in Alaska ' s Arctic Wildlife Refuge . Without detailing specific plans , conservationists have vowed litigation at every milestone on the long path to leasing in the refuge and potential oil - drilling there, stoking uncertainty about the potential activity for years after

The 19-million-acre (7.7 million-hectare) Arctic refuge, the largest in the U.S. national wildlife refuge system, contains some of the wildest territory in North America. There are no roads, established trails or buildings of any type within the refuge border, and no cell phone service, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

"This is a true wilderness Refuge," the Arctic refuge website advises.

Political and business leaders in oil-dependent Alaska have tried for decades to pry open the refuge's coastal plain, which is believed to hold potential for billions of barrels of oil. But the plain, between the Brooks Range mountains and the Arctic Ocean, is prized for its importance to caribou, polar bears and other wildlife. Oil development there had been banned until Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski led a move to insert a pro-drilling provision into the 2017 tax bill signed by President Donald Trump.

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Alaska ' s economy depends on the oil industry for one-third of its jobs, but other oil prospects are But all that is poised to change with the current administration's plans ." The U.S. Senate gave final approval for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a deficit-cutting budget bill.

Parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge , in northeastern Alaska , are thought to contain more than 10 billion barrels of oil . Maria Cantwell (Wash.), were attempting to attach an amendment to the chamber’ s budget plan that would bar drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge , which covers

In Alaska, the development plan is largely embraced, but not universally so. Drilling opponents gathered outside of last week's Anchorage and Fairbanks hearings about the proposed lease sales to protest the plan.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift, in an email, said the $4 million "will be used to support six projects designed to improve and construct existing outbuildings, facilities and research operations."

That work will include improvements to facilities located outside the refuge, in the Inupiat village of Kaktovik and at Galbraith Lake along the Trans Alaska Pipeline corridor, she said in the email.

The $4 million appropriation for Arctic refuge projects is one of the largest single items in a total of $50 million in planned DOI construction spending.

"The President is a builder, he loves to build and he loves our public lands, so it is a natural fit that the Trump Administration is dedicating so much attention to rebuilding our aging Fish and Wildlife Service infrastructure," Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement on Thursday.

A partnership of three companies is seeking to do seismic surveys in the refuge starting this winter. That plan, from SAExploration and two Alaska Native corporations, was panned by the U.S., Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington Post reported last month.

There has been no decision on that application, Swift said on Thursday. "It was a draft application. The Department does not make decisions based upon early drafts," she said by email.

(Reporting by Yereth Rosen; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Diane Craft)

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