Trump’s Interior Department set to approve oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic refuge

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The Trump administration plans to approve an oil leasing program for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The action will open the pristine 19 million-acre wilderness to drilling for the first time, after more than 30 years of oil-industry lobbying for such access. The leasing auction will begin around the end of the year, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told the paper, which will make it difficult to unwind the decision should Democrats, who are largely opposed to the drilling, recapture the White House in November. Environmentalists have raised concerns about the impact drilling could have on the polar bears and caribou herds in the remote refuge in northeast Alaska and also want the U.S. to migrate toward job-producing alternative energy sources, including solar and wind. Republicans largely argue that more U.S. drilling increases independence from producers OPEC and Russia, and thus is a national-security matter.
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