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STATEMENT: CAP’s Jenny Rowland-Shea Praises Suspension of Oil Drilling Leases in Arctic Refuge

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Biden administration suspended the oil drilling leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that had been authorized by the previous administration. In response, Jenny Rowland-Shea, deputy director for Public Lands at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The Trump administration knowingly cut corners and ignored science throughout the environmental assessment, lease sale, and antitrust review in its rush to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling. The entire process of administering leases was nothing short of a sham, and the Biden administration is taking the steps needed to clean up this mess.

The Arctic Refuge is sacred to the Gwich’in and Iñupiat people, an irreplaceable landscape for wildlife, and a key piece of carbon-sink infrastructure. The United States simply cannot achieve its conservation or carbon reduction goals if it is drilled for oil. Congress should join the administration and take legislative action now to restore protections for the coastal plain and ensure that it is not subject to another lease sale.

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For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at  or 202-478-6327.