Alaska Governor Makes Baseless Allegations
False Accusations Imperil Work of FWS Employees
Washington, DC — In a March 1, 2019 letter to President Trump released yesterday, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy falsely accused U.S. Fish and Wildlife career employees of actively working to undermine the sale of oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
“These baseless accusations are viewed as threats to career civil servants,” said Tim Whitehouse, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). “They are part of a coordinated campaign by the fossil fuel industry and their allies in government to question the loyalty of public servants who work hard to ensure that laws are followed and that government makes informed decisions.”
In his letter to President Trump, the governor stated,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife career employees undermined seismic work this winter, so the sale will occur without valuable data, likely lowering bids. These same U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees are working to undermine the lease sale. ANWR has the potential to become the next Prudhoe Bay, and is a key element for your goal of America to achieve energy dominance.
The governor offered no information to back up his claim.
“The Interior Department is already in a panicked rush to open the Arctic to drilling, but apparently this isn’t even quick enough for the governor,” said Whitehouse. “So his next move is to make baseless accusations against the experts working on this project in hopes that the Trump Administration will silence them.”
In March, PEER posted 19 inter-agency expert assessments from the Interior Department of critical unknowns about the impacts of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plan that were not produced in response to on-target Freedom of Information Act requests. They were also not used in the draft Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Program Environmental Impact Statement.
PEER has asked the Interior’s Office of Inspector General (IG) to investigate why these documents were not produced under FOIA and considered in the draft EIS as required by law.