Trump administration hurries plans to drill oil in Alaska refuge

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The Trump administration is expediting plans to drill oil in northeast Alaska, in what is believed to be North America's largest untapped onshore reserve of oil.

National Geographic reports that when Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1980, Congress deferred a decision to manage 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain, which the USGS estimates to contain 10.4 billion barrels of oil.

For decades, opposition to drilling helped keep the refuge off limits. But Trump and the Republicans are now paving the way for oil exploration.

The New York Times reports that in 2017, a provision to allow for drilling in the Arctic refuge was inserted into a tax bill that was approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President. The provision authorized two lease sales of drilling rights for 400,000 acres each.

Drilling plans are overseen by officials committed to oil exploration. Opponents fear the process may not be impartial, especially with speedy and less rigorous environmental impact assessments.

Environmentalists are also concerned that seismic testing and eventual drilling in the refuge could threaten wildlife, including crucial habitats for caribou and polar bears.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Oil reserves in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
2. Provisions for oil drilling passed with 2017 tax law
3. Drilling overseen by Alaska-friendly officials; environmental studies fast-tracked
4. Oil drilling in Alaska potentially threatening wildlife habitats

VOICEOVER (in English):

"When Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1980, Congress deferred a decision to manage 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain, which the USGS estimates to contain 10.4 billion barrels of oil."

"In 2017, a provision to allow for drilling in the Arctic refuge was inserted into a tax bill that was approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President."

"The provision authorized two lease sales of drilling rights for 400,000 acres each."

"According to the New York Times, drilling plans are overseen by officials committed to oil exploration. Opponents fear the process may not be impartial, especially with speedy and less rigorous environmental impact assessments."

"Environmentalists are also concerned that seismic testing and eventual drilling in the refuge could threaten wildlife, including crucial habitats for caribou and polar bears."

SOURCES:
New York Times, Nation
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/us/oil-drilling-arctic-national-wildlife-refuge.html
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/arctic-national-wildlife-refuge-america-oil-risk/
https://naturalresources.house.gov/anwr/