The Trump administration is taking steps toward a lease sale within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area President-elect Joe Biden has said he would move to protect from oil and gas drilling.
Chad Padgett, state director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for Alaska, said hearing from industry on which tracts to make available “is vital in conducting a successful lease sale.” The agency plans to make a formal call for nominations Tuesday.
It said it also will seek comments on whether tract sizes should be reduced and whether any should receive special considerations.
The deadline for submitting nominations and comments will be Dec. 17, the agency said.
Alaska political leaders, including the state’s Republican congressional delegation, celebrated in 2017 the passage of legislation allowing for drilling within the refuge’s roughly 1.5 million-acre coastal plain, seeing it as a way to boost oil production, create jobs and generate royalties. Oil has long been Alaska’s economic lifeblood, though production is a fraction of what it was at its peak in the late 1980s.
The Gwich’in people have opposed development within the refuge, citing concerns on the impacts to the Porcupine Caribou Herd on which they have relied for subsistence. Conservation groups also have expressed opposition.
Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of Gwich’in Steering Committee, said the voices and concerns of indigenous people in the region are not being heard.
“But we’re not giving up. We’re not going to just allow people to come into our homeland, do whatever they want and stand idly by,” she said.
Biden, now the president elect, on his campaign website mentioned an intent to permanently protect the refuge. When someone publicly states an intent to provide protections, “you better believe the Gwich’in will hold them accountable to it,” Demientieff said.
Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, said a lease sale is “one more box the Trump administration is trying to check off for its oil industry allies before vacating the White House in January.”
“Arctic Refuge drilling has never made sense from a climate change, human rights or wildlife protection perspective, and with continued volatility in oil markets and major U.S. and international banks unwilling to invest in Arctic oil, the economic argument no longer holds water either,” he said in a statement.
Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, said she’s not sure what the level of interest in the refuge’s coastal plain is among companies because it’s not something companies publicly discuss for competitive reasons.
“We’ll wait to see what the reaction is from industry,” she said. “Obviously we’ve long supported having the opportunity to have lease sales on federal land whether it’s the coastal plain or not. We’ll wait to see how the process unfolds over the next 30 to 60 days.”
Arizona GOP chair Kelli Ward rejects calls for audit of party elections
Kelli Ward on Friday rejected calls for an audit into her recent reelection as the chair of the Arizona Republican Party and other party races, arguing that the state GOP does not have the structure to review them.
Senate impeachment trial arguments to start February 9
The second Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is scheduled to begin on February 9 after Senate leaders reached a deal to push it back, giving Trump’s legal team more time to prepare and Senate Democrats a chance to consider Covid-19 legislation and to confirm President Joe Biden’s Cabinet.
‘It will be a full trial’
‘QAnon Shaman’ Jake Angeli charged over pro-Trump riots
A prominent follower of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon has been charged over the US Capitol riots.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli, is in custody on charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Mr Chansley, who calls himself the QAnon Shaman, is allegedly the man pictured with a painted face, fur hat and horns inside Congress on Wednesday.
Donald Trump faces another impeachment charge for his role in the unrest.
Democrats accuse the president of encouraging the riots, in which five people died.
The FBI has been appealing to the public to help bring the assailants to justice.
Mr Chansley has not commented publicly on the charges.
A statement from the federal attorney for Washington DC said: “It is alleged that Chansley was identified as the man seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants.
“This individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade.”
The statement said police had also detained a man from Florida believed to have been photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern from the House of Representatives chamber.
Adam Johnson, 36, is being held on charges including one count of theft of government property and one count of violent entry.
Also among those charged is West Virginia lawmaker, Derrick Evans. He is alleged to have posted a video of himself online, standing outside the building with Trump supporters, and then going inside.
He was arrested on Friday and is also accused of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, the Department of Justice statement said.
More than a dozen people have now been charged in offences related to the assault on the Capitol building. They include an Alabama man allegedly found with 11 Molotov cocktails near the unrest.
Mr Trump is due to leave office in 11 days. Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to introduce an article of impeachment against him on Monday, for “incitement of insurrection”.
A White House spokesperson said impeaching the president at this late stage would only further divide the country.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55606044
Tech8 months ago
Search engine startup asks users to be the customer, not the product
Europe2 months ago
Covid: Flights shut down as EU discusses UK virus threat
Health2 months ago
Spain ‘to register’ those who refuse to have Covid-19 vaccine
Europe1 month ago
Post-Brexit trade: Is red tape chaos just ‘teething trouble’ as the UK government argues?
Sports4 years ago
Boxing continues to knock itself out with bewildering, incorrect decisions
latest news9 months ago
Creepy technologies invade European post-pandemic workplaces
Australia2 months ago
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
latest news7 months ago
Lessons for Africa from devastating Mauritius oil spill