Trump Administration’s Arctic Refuge Boondoggle Delayed Once Again 

Press release from the Sierra Club

Contact: Gabby Brown,, 914-261-4626

Washington, DC — Today, the Trump administration’s Interior Department confirmed that it will not be able to update its assessment of any existing oil and gas reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge until 2023. The administration has not yet set a date for a lease sale in the refuge, and if a sale is held without new seismic data, then companies will be bidding blind.

The administration had originally planned to allow SAExploration to conduct destructive seismic testing across the entire coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge last winter, but that plan was delayed in the face of public backlash and concerns about the inability to avoid harming already-threatened polar bears denning in the coastal plain. BP, one of the only companies with inside information from the only exploratory well ever drilled in the Refuge, recently sold off all of its Arctic assets.

In the last few months, both Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have ruled out financing for drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

In response, Lena Moffitt, Senior Director of the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign, released the following statement: 

“The Trump administration’s push to sell off the Arctic Refuge for drilling has been a boondoggle from the start. Despite attempting to suppress science and rush the review process, they can’t get around the fact that oil drilling or exploration in the coastal plain would cause irreparable damage to this unique place and the communities and wildlife that depend on it. Now, not only are a growing number of major financial institutions refusing to fund Arctic drilling, but it’s not even clear how much oil there is to drill for. This administration may still be reckless enough to hold a lease sale anyway, but hopefully oil companies aren’t foolish enough to bid.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Date of publication: 2 Mar 2020

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