CPAWS Yukon pleased to see canceled leases in the Arctic Refuge

September 6, 2023

Whitehorse, Yukon – CPAWS Yukon joins the Gwich’in Steering Committee and other environmental allies in welcoming today’s announcement of the cancellation of remaining oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 

Today, the U.S. administration announced, along with a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS), that the last remaining leases held along the coastal plains in the Arctic Refuge would be canceled. These leases, held by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) were attained during the unlawful and rushed sale in January 2021. 

The coastal plains of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are the calving grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd, who migrate through Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Today’s announcement is a crucial step towards protecting their wellbeing, and the Gwich’in way of life. 

“We are happy to see that the remaining leases held by AIDEA were canceled today. This confirms what we’ve known since the beginning: the 2021 lease sale was unlawful and rushed. Canceling these leases shows care for the climate, caribou, and the communities who rely on them. This is a big win for the Arctic Refuge, the Porcupine caribou herd, the Gwich’in, and all Canadians.” – Randi Newton, Conservation Manager for CPAWS Yukon

For decades the Gwich’in have been advocates for protecting the Porcupine caribou and their calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We want to express our gratitude to the Gwich’in Steering Committee and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation for their leadership and congratulate them on achieving this step towards permanent protection of these sacred lands. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be taking a deep dive into the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and encourage Yukoners to submit their comments. This SEIS comes as part of an order from Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and an executive order from President Joe Biden to address the shortcomings of the previous administration’s environmental review. 

Gwich’in Steering Committee statement:



Adil Darvesh, CPAWS Yukon Communications Coordinator | 867-393-8080 x 9