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40-year-old ban on energy development in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to be lifted by Co

The Republican tax-reform bill, which passed in Congress and was signed by President Trump in December, includes a provision directing the Interior Department to hold “lease sales” in a coastal portion of the 19-million-acre Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The auctioning off of portions of the ANWR effectively opens the area to bids by energy companies for oil drilling. The ANWR, which has been federally protected for over 40 years from energy development, is estimated to contain 11.8 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil. However, required extensive environmental review, likely lawsuits, and future elections could all be factors that put actual drilling for oil in the ANWR at least 10 years away.

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