"An expected new rule promoting biological diversity and environmental health within the National Wildlife Refuge System could be used to discourage oil and gas drilling on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, environmentalists say.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service will soon propose new regulations to promote “biological integrity, diversity and environmental health” on all lands within the country’s 588 national wildlife refuges.
The agency expects to publish the draft regulations sometime this fall or early winter, spokeswoman Christine Schuldheisz said.
The regulation will affect every state, where land to be protected within national wildlife refuges totals about 90 million acres—an area roughly three times the size of New York State. Most of the acreage of the National Wildlife Refuge System is within Alaska.
The proposed rule will be based on language in the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 and a 1997 amendment that direct the agency to safeguard the “biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health” of refuges for future generations, the agency said in its Office of Management and Budget notice."