GWICH’IN TRIBES SLAM MOVE BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO FAST-TRACK OIL DEVELOPMENT IN ARCTIC REFUGE
January 1, 2019
Categories: Environmental Protection, Hunting and Fishing Rights
Photo of Caribou.
The Porcupine Caribou Herd calves each year in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Anchorage, AK (December 20, 2018) – The Bureau of Land Management today released the draft Environmental Impact Statement for oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This release represents the latest move by the Trump Administration to rapidly develop public lands significant to the region’s federally recognized Neets’ąįį Gwich’in Tribes.
In less than a year, the Trump Administration slapped together an Environmental Impact Statement, based on pre-existing data and research from other regions in Alaska, that brushes aside the subsistence and cultural resources of the Tribes. The draft goes so far as to boldly declare that oil and gas development in the caribou calving grounds will have no impact at all on the Tribe’s subsistence hunting practices. The Tribes, with attorneys from the Native American Rights Fund, are working tirelessly to halt any attempt to develop the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain.
“Today’s release was done with no prior notification to our Tribal Councils, who have met with the BLM for months on a government-to-government basis, ” said Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government Executive Director Tonya Garnett. “What’s even more disrespectful is to release this just before our villages are gathering together to celebrate the holidays. The total lack of regard to our tribal governments on an issue of such importance really demonstrates how BLM leadership views their trust responsibility to our Tribes. Our people and the caribou are bound together, and their fate is the same as ours. We will never stop in the defense of our way of life. ”
Read more about NARF’s work to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Tribes’ ways of life.