The Biden administration is reviewing Trump Period orders for arctic sanctuaries and nationwide monuments

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Photo credit: Alexis Bonogofsky for USFWS

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President Biden’s first few days in office show that conservation and the environment are his government’s top priorities.

As the new president settled in, he worked quickly to execute a number of executive orders. The top priority in the administration is of course fighting the COVID-19 virus.

But not far behind, Biden is trying to review two Trump-era conservation policies. Both reviews analyze whether the previous administration has made any legal changes and whether these guidelines are appropriate for these landscapes.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Environmental Protection vs. Drilling

Oil Leases for Arctic National Wildlife SanctuariesThe Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Photo credit: Alexis Bonogofsky for USFWS

One of the most notable executive orders halts the oil leases sold in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in the last few days of the Trump administration. The oil leases covered nine areas. A total of 440,000 hectares previously protected coastal plains would have been drilled. Now the sale and possible drilling are being reviewed.

The ANWR is one of the last untouched wilderness areas in the world. It is home to several mountain ranges on 19.3 million acres. It also supports one of the last great caribou migrations. And it’s one of the few landscapes where polar bears live.

In addition, indigenous communities rely on their abundance of natural resources, and apart from these indigenous settlements, there is no infrastructure in the landscape.

The case for drilling depends on the need for Alaskan jobs and economic development. However, the lease sales were less than $ 15 million, and most of them Leases were bought from the state of Alaska itself.

“The Secretary [of the Interior] will review the program and, if necessary and in accordance with applicable law, carry out a new comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impact of the oil and gas program. ” supreme command read.

National Monument Boundaries In Review

Grand Staircase Escalante BordersGrand Staircase Escalante National Monument; Image Credit: BLM

Biden’s administration also plans to review boundary changes on the Grand Staircase-Escalante. Bear earsand Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments.

The Trump administration reduced these monuments of the Obama era Promotion of raw material extraction and economic growth in badly affected rural areas. But indigenous communities railed against it and a national outcry followed.

Now the Biden administration will determine if the changes made by the Trump administration were appropriate. The implementing regulation states: “The attorney general, the secretaries for agriculture and trade, the chairman of the council for environmental quality and [in consultation with] Tribal Governments ”will conduct the review.

The review takes 60 days. It will also address current litigation in court related to the three monuments presented.

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