The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ranks as one of the most controversial chunks of land in Alaska. Since Congress set it aside for more study in 1980, environmental groups, politicians and industry have battled over whether to explore for oil there or to protect the wilderness forever. As the Trump administration gets ready to take the White House in January, the debate will likely flare up again. But even though the fight’s dragged on for decades, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what lies beneath the refuge.
Armstrong and its partner Repsol, a Spanish company, say a development there could produce about 120,000 barrels of oil per day. That’s almost a quarter of the amount currently flowing through the pipeline. Armstrong Energy director Ed Kerr says the company aims to deliver first oil in 2022.