The Trump administration said on Tuesday it had issued oil and gas drilling leases on more than 400,000 acres (16,187 hectares) of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge is home to polar bears, grizzly bears, black bears, moose, caribou, wolves, eagles, lynx, and migratory birds.
Formal publication of the leases by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management comes a day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Bided has pledged to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and ban new oil and gas leasing on federal lands. Leaseholders would still need to get permits from the new administration before they can start drilling.
At the beginning of December, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other banks announced they would not finance oil and gas drilling projects in the Arctic.