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The Trump administration to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas co.

A fierce legal battle is expected over the fate of an area that is home to polar bears, caribou, and the promise of oil wealth.

The Arctic National Wildlife in northeastern Alaska is in danger. The U.S Interior Department had completed its reviews and clearing the way for the government to auction off leases to oil and gas companies.

Those companies are interested in drilling inside the refuge’s coastal plain, which is believed to sit on top oil reserves to fill billions of barrels but it has a heavy environmental cost as it is home to wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. The decision sets the stage for what is expected to be a fierce legal battle.

The Arctic National Wildlife consists of 19,286,722 acres (78,050.59 km2), the largest national wildlife refuge in the U.S, slightly larger than the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. [New York Times]

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