Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Wednesday took a first step toward potentially opening up more of Alaska's public lands for drilling, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Zinke ordered a review — including geological assessments — of oil reserves and production, eyeballing the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the 23 million acre National Petroleum Reserve, the Journal reported.
"Using this land for its original intent will create good paying jobs and revenue . . . and strengthen our energy and national security," Zinke said in Anchorage, the WSJ reported.
The order will put President Donald Trump's administration in the crosshairs of environmental groups, and it came one day before the president is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
"The Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a special and sensitive place and no amount of oil can justify drilling there," said Kristen Miller, interim executive director for the Alaska Wilderness League, the Journal reported.
The move comes just more than a month after Trump signed an executive order to expand drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
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