The state won 10-year oil leases for nine pieces of land by submitting the minimum offer: $25 an acre. But drilling for oil in the refuge is expensive, and it faces an aggressive opposition campaign.
One of the Trump administration’s biggest energy initiatives suffered a stunning setback Wednesday, as a decades-long push to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge ended with a lease sale that attracted just three bidders — one of which was the state of Alaska itself.
It’s a win for the Trump administration, which has pushed to lock in drilling in the refuge in its final weeks, before President-elect Joe Biden takes office and can try to stop it.
The sale, scheduled for Wednesday, would be a controversial milestone in a 40-year battle over whether to drill for oil in a part of the refuge called the coastal plain. So, how did we get here after such a long debate? And, what will happen next?
A federal judge in Anchorage says she could rule as soon as Tuesday on a request by environmental groups to block the Trump administration from carrying out the first-ever lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
With the first-ever oil lease sale in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge just two days away, a federal judge in Anchorage will consider a request Monday to stop the Trump administration from issuing the oil leases.
It’s a controversial move, and a way for the state to secure drilling rights in the coastal plain in case no one else bids on the leases.
While geologists say the rock formations, oil seeps and old seismic results seem promising, big questions remain about where the oil is trapped, and exactly how much of it there is.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is asking its board to allow it to spend up to $20 million on the sale.
BLM says it decided to cut the land from the sale based on comments it got during a 30-day period that ended last Thursday, which included concerns about caribou, polar bear and bird habitat.