The Biden administration on Tuesday suspended oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, unspooling a signature achievement of the Trump presidency and delivering on a promise by President Biden to protect the fragile Alaskan tundra from fossil fuel extraction.
The decision sets up a process that could halt drilling in one of the largest tracts of untouched wilderness in the United States, home to migrating waterfowl, caribou and polar bears. But it also lies over as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and Democrats and Republicans have fought over whether to allow drilling there for more than four decades.
A formal order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland paused the leases until her agency has completed an environmental analysis of their impact and a legal review of the Trump administration’s decision to grant them.
It’s a shame how much time and energy has to be spent just to fix a Republican president’s various atrocities, but it has to be done.