US judge rejects effort to stop drilling auction in Arctic refuge



A US federal judge in Alaska late on Tuesday ruled that the Trump administration’s planned auction of oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR, could proceed as planned on Wednesday morning.

The order by US District Judge, Sharon Gleason, comes after environmental groups and the indigenous people of northeastern Alaska sought a preliminary injunction to block the sale in the ecologically sensitive area.

The sale is scheduled for Jan 6 (today) but the Bureau of Land Management, BLM, started accepting bids at the end of last month.

In her order, Gleason said the green and native groups had failed to establish that they would suffer irreparable harm as a result of the sale.

Gleason has previously ruled against Trump administration efforts, including an attempt to open vast areas of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to oil and gas leasing and a land trade that would have allowed construction of a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

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