In a last-minute push, the Trump administration announced Thursday that it will auction off drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in just over a month, setting up a final showdown with opponents before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Armstrong Oil and Gas, which found and then sold a massive field on Alaska’s North Slope, just bought up about 1 million acres in oil leases in the National Petroleum Reserve.
In Alaska, the Trump administration continued work on some oil development projects, despite the partial government shutdown. Now some say that could invalidate the results.
The U.S. Senate tax bill would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil lease sales and split revenues with the state 50-50. Some Alaskans insist the state should get 90 percent, as promised in the statehood act. But if the tax bill passes, some opponents warn the state’s actual revenues from ANWR, no matter how much the oil companies bid, could be zero.