Minister Wilkinson expresses concerns over sale of leases for oil-and-gas development in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 


January 6, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

“Canada continues to strongly oppose development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge due to the potential impacts on the Porcupine caribou herd and on Indigenous Peoples. Porcupine caribou and their calving grounds are invaluable to the culture and subsistence of the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit and are integral to biodiversity in the North.

“I have been closely tracking proposed developments in the Refuge and their potential effect on transboundary wildlife, particularly the Porcupine caribou herd. So far, Canada’s concerns have not received a response that addresses the high level of risk to our shared species. The opening of bids today for oil-and-gas-development leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge deepens my very serious concerns. Prior to any leases being legally awarded, Canada has requested that additional consultations take place to assess and consider potential long-term effects on Porcupine caribou, as stipulated in the Canada–U.S. treaty for Porcupine caribou.

“The Government of Canada and I are committed to continuing to work with Indigenous Peoples and other domestic partners to engage and raise our serious concerns with the United States’ review process.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change 


Moira Kelly
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free) 

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