Alaska Native group challenges President Trump and Secretary Zinke on Arctic drilling

We hold the line in the Arctic, we stand up for our future generations. Our lands can no longer be sacrifice zones for...

Posted by Redoil on Monday, May 1, 2017

REDOIL on Facebook: 'We hold the line in the Arctic'

REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands) has joined a lawsuit that seeks to prevent the Trump administration from opening the Arctic Ocean to oil and gas development.

The Alaska Native organization celebrated when former president Barack Obama banned offshore drilling in more than 100 million acres in the Arctic. But President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that threatens areas used for fishing, whaling and other subsistence activities, according to the lawsuit.

“Trump’s executive order could open up more than 120 million acres of ocean territory to the oil and gas industry, affecting 98 percent of federal Arctic Ocean waters and 31 biologically rich deepwater canyons in the Atlantic Ocean,” REDOIL and other groups said in a joint statement on Wednesday. “Offshore drilling in these undeveloped regions threatens to harm irreplaceable wildlife, sensitive marine ecosystems, coastal residents and the businesses that depend on them, and our global climate.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Alaska. President Trump and Secretary Ryan Zinke, the new leader of the Department of the Interior, are named as defendants.

Secretary Ryan Zinke signs orders affecting offshore development in Houston, Texas, on May 1, 2017. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior

“This order will cement our nation’s position as a global energy leader and foster energy security for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible,” Zinke said in a statement on Friday hailing Trump's directive.

Zinke followed up by signing two secretarial orders on Monday. The department will develop a new offshore oil and gas plan and review regulations covering those activities.

According to Interior, revenue from offshore development dropped more than $15 billion during the Obama era. The funds could be used to support conservation and other federal programs, the department said.

Read More on the Story:
Groups sue to stop Trump from renewing offshore drilling (AP 5/3)

Join the Conversation