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Trump moving toward energy exploration in Arctic wildlife refuge

Washington: US President Donald Trump’s administration was working to allow energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for the first time in more than three decades, the media reported.

In a memo dated August 11, US Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director James Kurth directed the agency’s regional director for Alaska to get rid of the time constraints listed in a rule that allowed exploratory drilling in the refuge between October 1, 1984 and May 31, 1986, The Hill magazine reported citing The Washington Post.

“When finalised, the new regulation will allow for applicants to (submit) requests for approval of new exploration plans,” the memo said.

It also noted that the Fish and Wildlife Service was asked to update the rule by the Interior Department, though it was not clear who requested the change.

If the rule change is finalised, companies would then bid to conduct seismic studies of the area.

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Earlier this year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that he hoped to update resource assessments of ANWR, suggesting that doing so could spur energy exploration in the region.

An Interior official told The Washington Post that the agency is required to allow seismic surveys in Alaskan wildlife refuges.

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