Alaska Senator pushing for oil development in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

An undated photo of the Porcupine Caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Courtesy of The US Fish and Wildlife Service)

American lawmakers are setting their sights on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil, again.

The refuge is the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou, and a sacred area for the Gwich’in of Alaska, Yukon and NWT.

It’s been the center of the development-versus-environment issues for over 30 years.

Both Liberal MP’s for Yukon and the NWT have spoken in favour of protecting the Refuge.

“I ask all of us in this house to speak together to protect these grounds as the risk to this area opening up for dilling increases. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world, and is already under assault from climate change,” McLeod said in Parliament in December.

On February 23rd the Associated Press reported Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was sponsoring legislation to open the refuge up to what she is calling conventional drilling for oil.

“If you ask me,” she told The Associated Press by phone from Washington, D.C., “it’s always been a good time to open it.”

Leaders from the Gwich’in Tribal Council were not available for comment Thursday afternoon.

About the Author

Josh Campbell
Josh Campbell has returned to the CKLB News Team. He covered female university soccer and volleyball in New Brunswick, prior to graduating from Loyalist College in Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ontario in 2007. He's covered politics and Indigenous stories in both the NWT and Yukon over the last 10 years.

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