In Alaska’s North, Covid-19 Has Not Stopped Trump Quest to Drill for Oil

"The president’s plans for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may fall flat. But a massive ConocoPhillips project is moving full speed ahead."

"Along the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—the long-fought over stretch of wilderness that President Donald Trump has been working hard to open to drilling—a successful lease sale is looking less and less likely before the end of the year.

But west of the refuge, in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), the Interior Department is moving ahead with ConocoPhillips' Willow project. The project is a massive development expected to produce approximately 590 million barrels of oil over its 30-year life, and it could include a central processing facility, up to 250 wells, an airstrip, pipelines and a gravel mine.

On March 20, the Bureau of Land Management opened a public comment period on the project that will last until May 4—colliding head-on with the coronavirus and making it harder for nearby communities like Nuiqsut to weigh in. Nuiqsut is home to fewer than 500 people and is nearly 90 percent native Alaskan. The village, which is already surrounded on most sides by drilling, is about seven miles from where the gravel mine is planned."

Sabrina Shankman reports for InsideClimate News April 8, 2020.

Source: InsideClimate News, 04/09/2020