Trump Opens Alaskan Wildlife Refuge to Oil Drilling

Updated on February 5, 2018
Stephen Sinclair profile image

Stephen Sinclair is a freelance Canadian writer who has been publishing professionally for several years.

Black Fish Lake, in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Black Fish Lake, in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge | Source

Previously closed coastal plain approved for drilling

Recent comments made by President Donald Trump with regard to a remote Alaskan oil field have left some observers asking, "What is ANWR?"

ANWR stands for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It encompasses 19.3 million acres of land, including "the 1.5 million acres of coastal land between the Brooks Range and the Beaufort Sea" known as the "1002 area," as reported by the Alaska Wilderness League and Scientific American.

A 1980 law signed by former President Jimmy Carter "left the decision over whether to allow drilling inside the 1002 area up to Congress, a deal conservationists often called the 'great compromise,'" writes Scientific American.

President Trump's comments about ANWR were made to a group of Republicans at a congressional West Virginia retreat, as reported by Real Clear Politics.

The president described how a friend, who "is in that world," meaning the oil and gas industry, approached him and asked, "Is it true you're thinking about ANWR?"

Where is ANWR?

A markerArctic National Wildlife Refuge -
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, USA
get directions

The December 2017 tax bill passed by Republicans includes provisions to open the remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Industry 'friend' encourages Trump to support ANWR drilling

"I said, 'Yeah, I think we're going to get it, but, you know,'" Trump recounted his words to his oil industry friend.

"Are you kidding? That's the biggest thing," the president said, portraying his friend's statement. "'Ronald Reagan and every president has wanted to get ANWR.'"

"And after that, I said, 'Oh. Make sure that's in the bill,'" Trump stared blankly at those gathered as murmurs of laughter began to build.

"It was amazing how that had an impact. That had a very big impact on me, Paul," the president continued, referring to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"I really didn't care about it. And then when I heard that everybody wanted it — for 40 years they've been trying to get it approved — I said, 'Make sure you don't lose ANWR.'"

The Republican tax bill requires the Department of the Interior to "approve two lease sales" allowing for drilling in the disputed 1.5 million acre 1002 area coastal plain. Each of the leases is described by the Huffington Post as "covering no less than 400,000 acres."

Despite President Trump's assertions with regard to a conversation with a friend being a defining moment in the addition of ANWR oil drilling to the December 2017 tax legislation, Republican U.S. Senator from Alaska Dan Sullivan has stated that he briefed Trump on ANWR in 2017 and was "surprised at Trump’s knowledge about the state."

What is ANWR?

Senator Sullivan: ANWR developed for 'over a year'

Speaking with Neil Cavuto with Fox News, Senator Sullivan described working with a group of Republicans, including Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for "over a year."

The ANWR region "is home to polar bears, moose and caribou, and it has been the subject of a decades-long battle between energy companies and conservationists."

One estimate has the northern coastal plain holding 10.4 billion barrels of oil. However, bipartisan groups contend that its extraction "could spoil the landscape and harm the species that call it home."

The Alaska Wilderness League compares ANWR to other places of national significance like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon and concludes that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge helps define "what it means to be American."

The refuge is home to two caribou herds — the Central Arctic and the Porcupine — and all three species of North American bears — black, grizzly, and polar. ANWR is also, sometimes temporarily, home to 200 species of birds. The contentious coastal plain is described as "especially important for shorebirds and waterfowl that nest on or otherwise utilize the area during the summer."

Scientific American questioned whether or not any companies will actually enter the leases. Kara Moriarty, with the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, believes that opening ANWR to oil drilling will "unlock job benefits for Alaskans and invigorate the oil and gas industry, an anchor of the state's economy."

However, Moriarty concedes, "we won't know if companies are interested until the government goes through the process to hold a lease sale."

The New York Times reports that it will be "years" before the first lease is sold.

Republicans celebrate Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil drilling victory

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Stephen Sinclair

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, soapboxie.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://soapboxie.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)