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Trump Outlines Plans for Oil Drilling in Arctic Wildlife Refuge

  • Environmental study paves way for 2019 sale of drilling rights
  • Critics say analysis downplays risk to caribou, polar bears
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Eyed for Oil Drilling

Photographer: Getty Images

The Trump administration outlined plans for selling drilling rights on every acre of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain, despite acknowledging potential oil spills and impacts to polar bear and caribou that roam through the region.

The Interior Department’s draft environmental impact statement, published online Thursday, is a major milestone in the administration’s push to sell drilling rights in the refuge as soon as 2019. It lays out four approaches to leasing the land for oil development, including one option that would forgo the activity altogether and two that envision putting the entire coastal plain --about 1.56 million acres -- up for grabs.