The lame duck Trump administration is making a rushed last-minute push to sell leases to oil companies in the long-protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before Inauguration Day, numerous outlets reported.
On Monday, the Interior Department issued a “call for nominations” asking oil companies to request specific parcels of land to be made available for drilling. Completing the lease sales before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. would make it harder, though not necessarily impossible, for the Biden administration to prevent oil drilling in ANWR.
“Any company thinking about participating in this corrupt process should know that they will have to answer to the Gwich’in people and the millions of Americans who stand with us,” said Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, in a statement. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts, oil companies may still struggle to drill in ANWR, given substantial logistical costs and recent moves by major financiers to stop funding drilling there.