Biden suspends oil leases in Alaska's Arctic refuge
June 2, 2021
WASHINGTON - The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing a drilling program approved by the Trump administration and reviving a political fight over a remote region that is home to polar bears and other wildlife - and a rich reserve of oil.
The order by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland follows a temporary moratorium on oil and gas lease activities imposed by President Joe Biden on his first day in office. Biden's Jan. 20 executive order suggested a new environmental review was needed to address possible legal flaws in a drilling program approved by the Trump administration under a 2017 law enacted by Congress.
After conducting a required review, Interior said it "identified defects in the underlying record of decision supporting the leases, including the lack of analysis of a reasonable range of alternatives'' required under the National Environmental Policy Act, a bedrock environmental law.