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On Monday the Trump administration approved drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, opening up millions of acres of wilderness to drilling for the first time.

After completing its review of an oil and gas leasing program, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has stated that he expects the first round of leasing to take place before the end of 2020.

The Trump era is characterized by major deregulation of climate and environmental policies, while expanding oil and gas drilling. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, the lease sales would result in the release of more than 4.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, roughly three-quarters of the U.S. annual emissions.

This drilling plan has long been contested by Indigenous communities in Northern Alaska, who not only consider the region sacred, but also depend upon the local ecosystem for their subsistence living.

Indigenous lands are increasingly destroyed for oil development. We must stand with the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic and fight alongside to protect the sacred lands.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Theresa Church from Global Justice Ecology Project.