Groups sue for information on Arctic refuge lease sale

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Native and environmental groups are suing the U.S. Interior Department, saying it has withheld information regarding its preparation for a petroleum lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Anchorage claims the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not provide public information in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The groups sought information on an application by a company to conduct three-dimensional seismic exploration that could disturb denning polar bears.

The groups also sought information regarding Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s order to limit time for an environmental review and department consultations with Canada over caribou.

The groups object to leases in the massive refuge.

Interior Department spokeswoman Molly Block said the department could not comment on pending litigation.

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