Yukon Weekly

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling to be banned due to US house votes

Key Takeaway:

  • The US House of Representatives has chosen again to establish the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ban.
  • The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a place in Northeastern Alaska that borders the Yukon, is a breeding ground for polar bears and the birth ground for the Porcupine caribou herd.

The US House of Representatives has chosen again to establish the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ban.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, n place in Northeastern Alaska that borders the Yukon, is a breeding ground for polar bears and the birth ground for the Porcupine caribou herd. The species is a crucial source of food and cultural identity for the Gwich’in.

In 2020, under the Trump administration opened the area to oil leases.

President Joe Biden has promised to protect the area. An executive order was issued in January. Twenty-one called for a halt of the lease sales, and November 19’s vote takes the next step towards permanent protection.

“We would not stop till these sacred lands are permanently protected. At this moment, we put our faith in those with the power to vote,” said Vuntut Gwitchin Chief.

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One of the fundamental concerns about the Gwich’in project and environmental groups is that development can obstruct the Porcupine caribou herd. The flock uses the coastal plain as an essential calving ground during their annual migration cycle and is a critical source of food and culture for the Vuntut Gwitchin.

“We know congress will do the right thing and listen to the chorus of voices from across the globe that has but one clear message: protect the refuge,” said Tizya-Tramm.

The legislation to prevent drilling, wrapped into the Build Back Better Act, will now go to the Senate for consideration.

The Vuntut Gwitchin Government and the Gwich’in Tribal Council call on the Senate to pass the Act with a majority of votes so Biden can sign it into law.

Source-CTV News

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