Trump’s plan to wreck the Arctic

Trump agencies have become conveyor belts for moving public lands into industry hands with zero respect for the law, public input, science, climate consequences, Indigenous homelands, or the harm to air, water, land, wildlife and people.

A Teshekpuk Lake caribou in the Western Arctic. BLM puts drilling over subsistence and cultural health of the caribou herd.
Teshekpuk caribou in the Western Arctic. BLM photo, by Bob Wick.

This time, Trump’s Bureau of Land Management released a final environmental impact statement for a revised Integrated Activity Plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, or the Western Arctic.

What Trump’s plan does is undermine a 2013 plan founded on years of science and local meetings that resulted in protections for places like Teshekpuk Lake and the Colville/Kuukpik River to one that would allow oil leasing and drilling on more than eighty percent of the largest expanse of public land in the nation.  

Unhealthy and unjust

The effort to allow the carbon-polluting industry to steadily erode the health of the Arctic and planet for political gain and the benefit of corporate elites must stop.  

Allowing Big Oil to drill at will means destroying land, water, and wildlife habitat used for local hunting, fishing and gathering, and compounding the harms caused by industrialization, the very driver behind climate change and the climate impacts already hitting the Arctic.

Western and traditional scientists agree that protections must be increased and upheld to reduce the harms caused by carbon pollution. The civil rights protests have brought to light again the fact that the fossil fuel industry hurts marginalized and rural people most.

Brant on Teshekpuk Lake. Photo by Tyler Lewis, USGS

We must stop allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue and expand unjust practices. It’s time to promote clean, locally managed energy choices.  

Stop the drilling

We all know that climate change puts Alaska communities and people in peril. This crisis has caused animal die-offs, coastal erosion, sea-ice loss, permafrost loss, and a range of changes that threaten the cultural, social, economic, and physical health of people in the Arctic and around the world.

We need less drilling, not more, yet Trump’s agencies sweep protections off the table to promote a destructive ideology that prioritizes exploitation and profit-hoarding over the ways of life, livelihoods, and lives of others. We expect BLM to release its final decision on this revised plan in the coming weeks. You can count on us to call the agency out for failing to protect the Western Arctic and protect us all.

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