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(Reuters) - The Trump administration failed to adequately consider oil spills, climate change and the welfare of polar bears in its expedited study of proposed drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, according to comments published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week.
The unusually harsh criticism from federal wildlife regulators could deal a blow to one of the most high-profile items in President Donald Trump’s energy agenda, and reflects the pitfalls of the administration’s drive to speed up big projects with quicker, shorter environmental studies.
Interior - Department - Sale - Acres - ANWR
The Interior Department wants to hold its first lease sale of at least 400,000 acres in ANWR, America’s largest wildlife sanctuary, later this year, but could face lawsuits if its permitting process is flawed.
The Fish & Wildlife Service said the ANWR Coastal Plain draft environmental impact study (EIS) failed to include oil spill response plans, analyze the effects of climate change on the Arctic, or ensure that surveys of polar bear denning habitats are required.
Interior - Subagency - Dozens - Information - Gaps
The Interior subagency also listed dozens of other information gaps in its 59 pages of comments and implied that the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management wrote the study without properly consulting wildlife regulators.
“The Service has managed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its resources for several decades and has information and expertise that is valuable in formulating a final EIS that can withstand the scrutiny of legal sufficiency,” the agency’s Alaska director Gregory Sikanie wrote.
Fish - Wildlife - Service - Comment - Interior
The Fish & Wildlife Service declined to provide further comment. The Interior Department said its Bureau of Land Management had received thousands of comments on the draft study, all of which would be...
(Excerpt) Read more at: U.S.
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