Caribou and reindeer populations have been declining around the circumpolar north.
Knik Arm Services owner Mark Graber said it no longer felt worth it to hold onto the lease amid the legal battles.
The vacancies are slowing services, canceling ferries and could strain the Alaska Permanent Fund.
Regenerate Alaska, a unit of Australia-based 88 Energy Ltd., relinquished the tract it acquired for over $770,000, federal officials said.
The announcement calls for a new study that will be a supplement to the 2019 environmental impact statement conducted by the Trump administration.
Environmental regulators have made themselves clear: Skagway’s harbor is contaminated with lead and zinc near the ore dock.
The Biden administration has moved to block development in the refuge — and AIDEA’s move could put the two sides on track for a battle in court.
The Interior Department has suspended oil and gas leases in ANWR that were issued to Alaska’s state-owned economic development corporation and two smaller companies in the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Local officials in Haines see it as an opportunity to upgrade old shipping infrastructure.
The land along the road’s route near the highway and the village of Evansville is owned by Doyon, the state’s largest private landowner. The agreement is not a right of way and does not guarantee long-term access to the area by AIDEA or the road project.