Here at Saving The West we’ve reported about the wide range of effects of the U.S government shutdown, from damage to national parks to the threat to public health and more. However, according to The Guardian, while many government services are paused, the Trump administration has continued forward with drilling efforts around the country.

As The Guardian reports, oil drilling services that have continued include the approval of drilling permits in the American Southwest, as well as plans “to increase drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).” Yet according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a “contingency plan” was approved last year to allow for some of these activities. Nonetheless, it still raises questions. The Guardian continues:

In Alaska, the Trump administration is rolling out a contentious plan to overwrite Obama-era protections and expand the oil and gas leasing in two controversial areas, the wildlife refuge and the NPR-A. Since the shutdown began, the interior department moved forward with previously scheduled public meetings to educate stakeholders and provide opportunities for comment and discussion. Trump condemned over plans to allow drilling near national parks

Conversely, the same type of meetings scheduled by the department for an 800-megawatt wind farm project being built off the coast of Massachusetts, were canceled.

Oversight officials have begun to investigate the agency.

“Asking people to comment on two major development processes in the Arctic with huge potential environmental and human consequences without anyone in the agency able to answer questions defeats the purpose of the public participation process,” chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Raúl M Grijalva wrote in a letter to the acting secretary of the interior, David Benhardt on 7 January.

Read the full story on The Guardian.

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