Following the conclusion of the Environmental Impact Assessment process for lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an exploration project is now being proposed in the area. As a part of the permitting process there was a two-week window for public comment that closed on November 6, 2020. The Government of Yukon has provided comments, identifying that the mitigations proposed, with respect to Porcupine caribou, are inadequate.
The Government of Yukon continues to work with Porcupine caribou management partners - the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories, Inuvialuit, Gwich’in Tribal Council, Vuntut Gwitchin, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, and First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun.
Minister of Environment Pauline Frost released the following statement:
“Development activity in the refuge will impact caribou. Specifically, years of collaborative scientific research demonstrates the importance of the calving, post-calving and summer habitats to the Porcupine caribou herd and the corresponding subsistence and cultural practices of the many communities who rely on this herd.
We don’t support the permit as presented. We have provided significant scientific-based comments to the United States’ Bureau of Land Management to help guide necessary mitigations, like seasonal considerations, to help meet minimum standards in supporting development that does not unnecessarily impact Porcupine caribou.
We have submitted our concerns into the permitting process and 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.”