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Trump Gives The Go to Start Oil Drilling in Alaska!

The current administration of President Trump is sending the Go signal for drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and Gas. This has been a Republican priority for the longest time, and this has been opposed by Democrats for just as long.

The ANWR is one of the last remaining untouched lands in the US

A notice that was published last Friday by the Federal Register has started a 60-day review to sell oil and gas leases in the remote refuge, one of the most untouched and beautiful areas in the United States and home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds, and other species.

President Donald Trump has been quoted saying that he does not really care about opening a portion of the refuge to oil drilling but insisted it is included in recent tax legislation which was on the urging of others.

How it Started

Addressing fellow Republicans at a Good Old Party conference in West Virginia in February, Trump said a friend confided in him that every Republican president since Ronald Reagan wanted to get oil drilling approved in the refuge. He said he didn’t really care about it, but when he heard everybody wanted it for 40 years, they’ve been trying to get it approved, then he said to them to make sure not to lose ANWR.

Before any drilling can happen, an environmental review needs to take place

President Bill Clinton vetoed a Republican plan to allow drilling in the refuge in 1995, and Democrats defeated a similar GOP proposal a decade later.The plan that was published Friday started a 60-day environmental review that includes public meetings in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and other sites, including three in northern Alaska. Assistant Interior Secretary Joe Balash called the drilling plan an important facet for meeting our nation’s energy demands and achieving energy dominance. He also added that he looks forward to visiting Alaska communities most affected by the plan.

The state’s all-Republican congressional delegation welcomed the move as a step towards responsible energy development. Democrats and environmental groups vehemently denounced the plan and said it was shameful that it would be published on Earth Day, and also on the eighth anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the nation’s worst environmental disaster.

On the other side of the fence

Many groups, not only Democrats, are completely opposed to the planned drilling of the Refuge

The Trump administration’s reckless dash to expedite drilling and destroying the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will only speed up a trip to the courthouse, according to Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife. He further added that they will not stand by and watch Trump and allies desecrate this fragile landscape.

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, a prominent Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said that the drilling is fundamentally inconsistent with the refuge’s purpose. She further opined that Ignoring reality, and hurtling toward a predetermined outcome is a recipe for disaster and a massive waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

What this means for the land

The Trump Administration and congressional Republicans said the drilling plan would help pay for tax cuts approved by Congress and signed by Trump in December. GOP lawmakers project at least $1 billion in revenue from drilling leases over 10 years. The current administration says this after President Trump already claimed that the aforenamed tax cuts would pay for themselves.

Environmental groups and other critics call those projections wildly optimistic, saying low global oil prices and high exploration costs are likely to limit drilling revenue. The administration plan calls for at least two major lease sales over the next decade in at least 400,000 acres (625 square miles) each in the refuge’s coastal plain. The surface development would be limited to 2,000 acres (3 square miles).

Time will only tell if the President’s promises of this project helping boost revenue will come true. One thing seems to be certain, though. Americans will need to start bidding goodbye to one of the most beautiful untouched pieces of land that the country has left because the way things are going, it will be gone before anybody knows it.

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