Scientific work has been altered or ignored to downplay the potential damage from oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Politico reports. The investigation states that an environmental-impact report into the project, which would usually take years to complete, has been compressed into just over one year to expedite the start of the drilling into what is believed to be hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil. Current and former employees at the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska told Politico the process has been “off the rails.” At least two BLM employees have reportedly submitted complaints about the process, saying findings in their work were changed or left out. In one case, a biologist’s conclusion was reportedly reversed from saying the effects of seismic surveys on polar bears were uncertain or potentially harmful to a finding that it would be “less than significant.” Another scientist said “fundamental inaccuracies” had been introduced into his section without his knowledge or consent. Seismic surveys, a key early stage of development, are likely to take place this coming winter, according to the report.
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