Biden Administration to conduct new environmental review of Alaska's Arctic National Refuge

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Aug 3 - The Biden Administration announced on Tuesday that it would conduct a new environmental review of oil and gas leasing in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The widely anticipated move comes two months after the Department of Interior said it would suspend drilling leases for the refuge in the final days of Trump administration.

During his campaign, Joe Biden pledged to protect the 19.6 million-acre pristine habitat for polar bears, caribou and migrant birds.

When it suspended the leases, Interior Department announced it would conduct a new environmental analysis to determine whether the leases would stand, be voided or be subject to mitigation measures.

The administration posted a note on Tuesday that it would kick off the review with a notice posted on a federal government website. The analysis will address deficiencies identified in what is known as the environmental impact statement conducted during the administration of then-President Donald Trump, the notice said.

In January, Trump's Interior Department sold the leases on the refuge over the objections of environmentalists and indigenous groups. The Alaskan state government hoped that having the refuge would help revive its declining oil industry.

Leases for nine tracts were issued covering 430,000 acres. An Alaska state agency holds most of them, while private companies Knik Arm Services LLC and Regenerate Alaska Inc each hold one lease.