ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – Knik Arm Services has asked the U.S. Department of the Interior to cancel its lease in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, just as Regenerate Alaska did two months ago, dealing another blow to proponents of oil and gas drilling on lands sacred to the Indigenous Gwich’in people.
This move leaves Alaska’s state-owned corporation, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, as the only entity still holding leases for the coastal plain of the refuge, which is the calving ground of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from its senior regional director for Alaska, Karlin Itchoak:
“The Indigenous Gwich’in and Iñupiat peoples – and everyone who is concerned about the global climate crisis – can celebrate this news that proves, once again, that drilling for oil on the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is simply bad business as the world moves away from fossil fuels.
“Only the state of Alaska now stubbornly holds onto leases acquired during the lease sale that was held at the end of the Trump administration after an irresponsibly rushed and reckless process,” Itchoak added. “The state, which has no ability to develop those tracts, is clinging to a false hope of drilling for oil against the wishes of the majority of people in America who want to see the Arctic Refuge permanently protected.
“It is clearer than ever that Congress must take action to prevent another lease sale and permanently protect the place known to the Gwich’in people as The Sacred Place Where Life Begins.”
The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization uniting people to care for America’s wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 111 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.