Statement from Minister Frost on President Biden’s moratorium being a step in the right direction for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Within hours of his inauguration, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order stopping the Bureau of Land Management’s current oil and gas lease program for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

This is an important step towards reversing the former administration’s efforts to open the critical habitat to industrial development and will help maintain the sustainability of the important Porcupine caribou herd.

The Government of Yukon continues to work with our partners in Porcupine Caribou management, 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:

“While the executive order is only a temporary moratorium, it states that the United States Government will review the instruments that put this oil and gas program in place and conduct a new, comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impacts it could cause.

Together with other Canadian parties to the Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement, we intervened and decried the lack of attention to scientifically-proven environmental impacts at every available opportunity throughout the regulatory process. We presented our shared analysis of decades-long scientific research, which clearly demonstrates development in the crucial calving grounds will have significant negative impacts on the herd and the corresponding subsistence and cultural practices of the many communities who rely on this caribou.

There is still a long way to go to seeing permanent protection of this unique and important herd and we are saddened by the nine lease tracts sold on January 19. But we will not stop demanding adequate protection for this herd and their critical habitat. We will continue to collect and analyze data that supports decision making based on strong, current science, and long-established traditional knowledge. We will continue to engage with our management partners in Alaska and the United States federal government.

With this new executive order, which sends a signal that is consistent with our shared values of informed, science-based decision making, we will continue our efforts with renewed optimism and enthusiasm.”

Contact 

Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications
867-393-7136
matthew.cameron@yukon.ca

News release #: 
21-020