The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jennifer K. Falcon,,

Trump Administration Approves Drilling In Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Indigenous Environmental Network Response

BEMIDJI, Minnesota

On Monday the Trump Administration announced it has completed its review of an oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). With this Record of Decision announcement, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has stated that he expects the first round of leasing for the 1.56-million acres in the ANWR to take place before the end of 2020.

This drilling plan has long been contested by Gwich'in and Inupiaq community leaders, who not only hold the region to be sacred lands, but also depend upon the porcupine caribou herd and local ecosystem for their subsistence living.

Indigenous Environmental Network issues the following statement:

"We denounce this decision to open more Indigenous lands for oil development. This is an ongoing attack upon Gwich'in and Inupiaq communities of northern Alaska and their subsistence lifeways. It is nothing more than yet another example of the Trump administration kowtowing to the interests of the oil and gas industry. We are prepared to take whatever action is needed to support the frontline villages and communities in their fight to protect the sacred."

Established in 1990 within the United States, IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN's activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.