Monday, November 16, 2020
US President Trump wants to initiate drilling licenses for oil and natural gas in a nature reserve in Alaska for the last few meters of his term in office. The bidding process could take place before the elected president takes office. Biden is an opponent of the project.
The administration of the elected US President Donald Trump wants to create facts in a controversial oil drilling planned in a nature reserve in Alaska. The Home Office has called on companies to show interest in drilling certain parcels of land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The move comes around two months before the newly elected President Joe Biden, who is against oil and gas drilling in the region, takes office.
The Ministry of the Interior gave the go-ahead for drilling in August in the coastal region in northern Alaska, home to polar bears, reindeer and many other animals. This immediately caused sharp criticism from environmentalists. The area is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the northeast of the state. Significant raw material deposits are suspected there; Possible exploitation has been debated for decades.
The Ministry of the Interior has now announced a 30-day phase in which companies can register their interest in certain parcels in an area of almost 650,000 hectares. This is a preliminary stage for a later auction of the drilling licenses. The corresponding document is to be officially published on Tuesday. The rights could possibly be sold before President-elect Biden takes office on January 20th.
Climate skeptic Trump loosens regulations for oil companies
The US Congress had basically approved drilling in the nature reserve three years ago. At that time, Trump’s Republicans had a majority in both chambers of Congress. Since the beginning of 2019, the Democrats have had a majority in the House of Representatives. Now up to eight percent of the nature reserve can be used for drilling, as the Interior Ministry had declared in August. The nature reserve covers a total of around 80,000 square kilometers, which is more than the area of Bavaria.
Trump is an avowed climate skeptic and promoter of the domestic oil industry. During his tenure, he relaxed numerous environmental requirements in order to accommodate the economy. The newly elected President Biden, on the other hand, who is due to take office on January 20, has made climate protection one of his top political goals.
Trump has not yet admitted his defeat by Biden in the November 3 election. The President speaks of alleged electoral fraud without any evidence and has filed a number of lawsuits.