The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. However, Section 1002 of the Act deferred a decision on whether or not to allow oil and gas exploration and development on 1.5 million acres in the coastal plain. Since then, the “1002 Lands” have been a focus of debate between those interested in seeing it developed and those who wish to ensure its protection. For the Porcupine Caribou Herd, the 1002 lands are critical calving habitat.
In 2017, the Republican-controlled House and Senate included a budget provision that would open the 1002 area of ANWR to oil and gas drilling. It passed both the Senate and House of Representatives and President Trump signed it into law.
As American authorities review how this drilling will occur, Canadian management agencies and co-management authorities have voiced concern about potential impacts to the Porcupine Caribou Herd.