Statement from Minister Clarke on the latest US intent to re-evaluate oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Government of Yukon continues to work with its partners in Porcupine caribou management for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which include the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun.

Following the June 1 Secretarial Order, which suspended the oil and gas leases in the Coastal Plains and temporarily halted any activities, the US Department of Interior has issued the Notice of Intent required to initiate the new, comprehensive analysis of the environmental impacts of oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (the Refuge). The Notice of Intent begins the process to conduct a new environmental analysis, complete necessary consultations and correct identified legal deficiencies in the current leasing program’s environmental review. There is a public scoping phase that will accept comments until October 4, 2021.

Minister of Environment Nils Clarke released the following statement:

“The potential development of oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has a high risk of adversely impacting the Porcupine caribou herd.Throughout the environmental review process for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, we raised significant concerns about the program and the proccess followed by the previous United States administration. We are pleased to see President Biden follow through on his commitment to due process and to conducting a new comprehensive analysis of the environmental impacts of a leasing program in the Coastal Plains. The Government of Yukon will provide comments in the scoping period for public input.

“We are optimistic that the new comprehensive environmental analysis will take into account the concerns identified in our previous submissions. This includes adequate consultation with all affected parties and appropriate consideration for Indigenous communities who are most impacted by the program. We provided ample evidence during the 2019 environmental impact statement process to support our position that drilling in the Refuge is not sustainable for the long-term health of the Porcupine caribou herd. We continue to urge the United States government to live up to their international commitments to protect the Porcupine caribou herd and its essential habitat in Alaska.”

Contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
867-334-9194
renee.francoeur@yukon.ca

Chantelle Rivest
Communications, Environment
867-334-9815
chantelle.rivest@yukon.ca

News release #: 
21-286