WASHINGTON (June 2, 2021) — U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of the Interior announced it would suspend all activities related to the implementation of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pending completion of a comprehensive analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA):
"I’m encouraged that the Biden administration suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and I applaud Secretary Haaland for making it happen. The leasing program was legally flawed. We don’t drill in National Parks and we sure as hell shouldn’t be drilling in National Wildlife Refuges.
"I’ve been to the Arctic Refuge and have seen this incredible wild landscape firsthand. This is no place for industrial drilling, which would irreparably harm polar bears, the Porcupine caribou herd, and the Gwich’in people.
"While the lease suspension is a positive and welcome step, more remains to be done to protect the Arctic Refuge. The leases ultimately need to be fully cancelled and protections restored to the Arctic Refuge coastal plain. I will continue working with the Biden administration so that together we reverse the Congressional drilling mandate and permanently protect the Arctic Refuge."