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.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy wants the state government to sever its ties with financial institutions that won’t finance oil and gas development in the Arctic.
The Trump White House is racing to lease an icebreaker. One candidate is a ship with a notorious Alaska past owned by a Republican mega-donor.
Sen. Dan Sullivan said the Arctic is the next arena of great military power competition, and Russia has built up a lot more infrastructure on its side.
This year was the second warmest on record in the Arctic, with impacts to sea ice, erosion and marine ecosystems.
According to the statement of sale posted online Monday, the minimum bid will be $25 per acre. Companies can submit their sealed bids to Bureau of Land Management between Dec. 21 and Dec. 31. Those bids will be unsealed at the 10 a.m. auction on Jan. 6, which will be broadcast online.
The Obama administration listed the Arctic ringed seal under the Endangered Species Act in 2012, citing the effects of climate change on the ringed seal’s sea ice habitat.
The new punishment is meant to educate the rule-breaker and people in the community about the reasons for the precautions.