US President Biden has suspended permits to drill for oil and gas in a nature reserve in the state of Alaska.
In doing so, he puts a preliminary line through a controversial decision by his predecessor Trump, who sold the permits in the last days of his presidency in January.
Indigenous groups and environmentalists had already started lawsuits because, according to them, licensing in the remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was based on poor environmental assessments.
Gina McCarthy, climate advisor to the White House, welcomed Bidens decision. “Otherwise, the character of this special place could have been changed forever.”
“Flagrant federal offense.”
Alaska is less to say about it. The State hoped, with the permits, which partly bought it up itself, to push its own economy. “Our permits are valid and cannot be purchased by the federal government,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy in a statement.
“ I am against this attack on the Alaska economy and will use every means to reverse this blatant federal error.”
In his campaign for the presidency, Biden announced his intention to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the northeast of the state. The reserve includes polar bears, reindeer and migratory birds.
Due to the sensitivities surrounding the permits, large oil and gas companies did not participate in the auction in January.