Biden suspends oil and gasoline leases in Alaska refuge pending evaluation

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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Universal picture group | Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s administration will suspend oil and gas leases at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending an environmental impact assessment, the US Department of the Interior said Tuesday.

The action undoes one of the signature efforts of former President Donald Trump to expand fossil fuel and mineral exploration in the United States.

During his campaign, Biden promised to protect the 19.6 million hectare habitat for polar bears, caribou and migratory birds.

“President Biden believes America’s national treasures are the cultural and economic cornerstones of our country, and he is grateful for the Home Office’s immediate action to suspend all leases pending a review of decisions made in the last few days of the last administration that would affect the situation can change “the character of this special place forever,” said Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser.

Alaskan green groups who had sued to halt the lease sale cheered the move.

The first sale of tracts at The Refuge, held two weeks before Trump left office in January, met with limited oil and gas industry interest, generating high bids of just $ 14.4 million.

The companies that won the leases were not immediately available for comment.

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