Gwich’in groups call out U.S. on drilling plan

The Gwich'in Tribal Council offices in Inuvik. (CKLB file photo).

The Vuntut Gwitchin Government and Gwich’in Tribal Council are calling out the U.S. government on an oil extraction project decision.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made a decision on the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program on Monday.

A press release issued by the two Gwich’in groups says the BLM chose the most destructive option for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plain.

The release was issued along with 42 pages documenting previous concerns on how the BLM conducted its environmental review.

“This decision is a result of a rushed and inadequate environmental review process.”

The release alleges the decision offers the most land for lease with the fewest restrictions and protections.

The release alleges the BLM didn’t determine potential implications for the Porcupine caribou herd, climate change, sacred lands and inherent rights of Gwich’in people.

The BLM will next release a call for nominations to identify areas for the first lease sale.

A public comment period will likely be part of the process, which the release says can be used as an opportunity to identify specific areas that should not be offered because of their value, use and importance.

The two Gwich’in groups are calling on allies to stand with them in telling the BLM that drilling in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not sustainable and threatens the human rights of the Gwich’in.

VGG and GTC Media Release re. Record of Decision_082020_FINAL

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at