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The Trump administration announced today (Aug. 17) that it plans to open up part of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a 19 million acre (7.7 million hectares) refuge about the size of South Carolina, to oil and gas leasing — a move that paves the way for drilling in the region, according to news reports.

ANWR has long been a battleground between environmentalists and industry. In 1960, the U.S. government began setting aside land for ANWR, “the only conservation system unit that protects, in an undisturbed condition, a complete spectrum of the Arctic ecosystems in North America,” according to a 1987 report

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