The United States will auction its last ecological reserve in Alaska to the highest bidder so that various oil companies can exploit it.
The Trump administration promised various oil companies the sale of one of the most important life reserves in the Arctic to extract oil. It is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, home to thousands of animal and plant species. The transaction is scheduled for next Wednesday, January 6, according to The New York Times.
The purpose of this auction event is to sell oil and gas leases, in order to accelerate the drilling of soils in this natural space. The Federal Register notice was issued last Thursday, but a 30-day period is required before any sale can occur. However, the advisory did not detail that the schedule had been sped up. Environmentalists and activists around the world reacted negatively to this action by the US government, disapproving of any action that prompted the sale of drilling rights.
Why is this ecological reserve important?
This ecological refuge has been recognized internationally as the last great wilderness in the United States. Located in northern Alaska, it has 79 thousand 318 million square meters and extends over the eastern part of the Brooks Range, which has mountains and glaciers more than 2,700 meters high.
In addition to the natural beauty of the tundra, this space is home to 36 different species of fish, about 40 mammals, and more than 160 migratory birds that use the area to rest, reproduce and feed between April and July. The rivers are home to significant numbers of freshwater trout, as well as extensive grasslands where caribou, elk, and black bears graze.
A “handout” for the fossil fuel industry Once the notice was released to the media, various environmental groups denounced the sudden change in schedule, which favors the sale of rights to oil companies. Faced with this situation, the executive director of the Sierra Club (one of the most important environmental organizations in the United States), Michael Brune, accused this action of the Trump administration as shameful in a statement: “THIS IS A SHAME ATTEMPT BY DONALD TRUMP TO GIVE ONE LAST ALMS TO THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY ON ITS WAY TO THE DOOR, AT THE EXPENSES OF OUR PUBLIC LANDS AND OUR CLIMATE. “
Generally, the lease review and approval process can take months of work. For this reason, activist groups and other opponents of this action hope that the Biden government can stop these sales attempts. Since one of the axes of his political campaign was caring for the environment, the responsibility for the president-elect is even greater.
Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, noted that protecting the Arctic should be a priority for the incoming administration, as “We will need it to use all the tools at its disposal to stop the industrialization of this iconic national treasure.” Meanwhile, the plan to sell the last wilderness reserve in the United States remains underway.
Source: National Geographic en Español