US President Joe Biden is reported to be suspending permits granted early this year to explore for oil and gas in a remote onshore area in the US state of Alaska.
Bloomberg News reported based on insiders that Biden is thus trying to undo the controversial action of his predecessor Donald Trump. Trump decided to start an accelerated permit process in the twilight of his presidencyBecause he knew his successor, Biden, was against drilling in the area.
This is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. The controversial nature of the permits has already ensured that large oil companies will not participate in the auction. Auction proceeds totaled more than $14 million, much less than the government had hoped for at the time. Most of the bids came from an Alaskan government agency. Two small oil companies also participated, but big oil companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron ignored the auction.
It appears that the solution Biden is now choosing may not be enough for many environmentalists and indigenous tribes. They prefer to declare the agreements null and void. They are strongly against drilling because nature and animal life such as polar bears and reindeer will be endangered due to, for example, oil pollution. So lawsuits were filed against the permits. Biden himself had previously said that drilling into the nature reserve would be a major disaster and that he would ban it.
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