Cheers to Biden for quickly protecting the Arctic Refuge

Cheers to President Joe Biden who on Day One in the White House put the brakes on plundering the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

While the previous administration rushed to open the 1.5-million-acre coastal region to oil and natural gas leases despite the fact that a majority of the country is against drilling in one of the nation’s more pristine wild lands in the nation, Biden made good on his campaign promise to protect the refuge.

The Refuge was established in 1960 as the Arctic National Wildlife Range and expanded in 1980 when it was renamed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Its 1.5-million-acre Coastal Plain region is home to denning polar bears, grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, muskoxen and more than 130 species of migratory birds.

Friends of Animals has been pushing back against the effort to drill in the region after the 2017 tax measure opened the Refuge to energy interests. This month the out-going Trump administration rushed a leasing sale but garnered just a few bidders, including the state of Alaska itself, which was afraid no one would show up to the sale so it did.

A majority of Americans believe the Refuge should be permanently protected from oil and gas exploration.

Alaska is the only state in the country that doesn’t collect sales or state income taxes. Each Alaskan receives an annual payment from investment earnings of mineral royalties from the Alaska Permanent Fund and the tax cut that opened the region to drilling was passed with the support of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.

“Kudos to President Biden who knows that drilling for fossil fuels only fans the flames of climate change,’’ said Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral. “We applaud Biden’s quick action to prevent harm to the myriad of species that live free in the Refuge and deserve protection from backward thinking energy interests.”