Interior announces “Readiness Project” for ANWR

Caribou graze on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with the Brooks Range as a backdrop. (USFWS)

The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday announced it is undertaking a series of construction projects to prepare for oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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The department says it will spend $4 million on six projects it’s calling “the 1002 Area Oil Exploration Readiness Project.” Most of the projects are in Kaktovik, a community within the 1002. That’s the coastal part of the refuge that Congress opened to oil exploration last year, over decades of objections from environmental groups and their allies.

The Kaktovik projects include an aviation fuel storage facility, a garage and a bear-proof storage building. Some of the money is slated for two cabins far from the 1002 area – a new one in Arctic Village the department says will support field operations, and an addition to an existing cabin at Galbraith Lake. Galbraith Lake is on the west side of the Dalton Highway, just outside the refuge.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her Read more about Lizhere.

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