• Dave Harmon, PW editor

Interview: How and why the Gwich’in Native community is fighting drilling in ANWR

For more than three decades, the Gwich’in Native community has helped to fight off repeated attempts by Republican administrations and fossil fuel companies to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, the largest remaining stretch of wilderness in the United States.

Last month, however, the Trump administration finalized plans to open up the refuge’s entire 1.5-million-acre coastal plain — thought to contain the largest untapped onshore oil reserve in North America — to fossil fuel development. The Gwich’in refer to the coastal plain as Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit, or the “sacred place where life begins.” It is the birthing grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd, upon which the tribe’s culture, history, and livelihood are based.

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