clearn.png
Tuesday June 15th, 2021 5:05AM

US holds first oil lease sale for Alaska's Arctic refuge

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. government held its first-ever oil and gas lease sale Wednesday for Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an event critics labeled as a bust with major oil companies staying on the sidelines and a state corporation emerging as the main bidder.

The sale, held as scheduled after a judge Tuesday rejected requests by Indigenous and conservation groups to halt the event, garnered bids on half the 22 tracts that were listed as available in the refuge’s coastal plain. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which held the sale, said the bids were under review.

The rugged remote area off the Beaufort Sea is considered sacred by the Indigenous Gwich’in. Critics of the lease sale say the region is special, providing habitat for wildlife including caribou, polar bears, wolves and birds, and should be off limits to drilling.

Supporters of drilling have viewed development as a way to bolster oil production, generate revenue and create or sustain jobs.

A state corporation, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, was the sale's main bidder. Its executive director, Alan Weitzner, in a statement, said in acquiring nine tracts, “Alaska preserves the right to responsibly develop its natural resources.”

Members of the state's congressional delegation, in a statement released by the land management agency, lauded the day as momentous. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, on Twitter, called the lease sale “historic for Alaska and tremendous for America.”

“Alaskans have waited two generations for this moment; I stand with them in support of this day,” he said.

Kate MacGregor, a deputy Interior Department secretary, said the sale marked, in part, the Trump administration's commitment to working “to fulfill the goal of U.S. energy security for decades to come.”

“And when it comes to Arctic national security, today's sale will further demonstrate the United States will have a long-term economic presence,” she added.

It was not clear heading into the sale what level of interest there would be among companies. A number of banks had announced plans to stop lending to projects in the Arctic, and President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to drilling in the refuge.

While U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason on Tuesday refused to halt the sale, she has yet to rule on underlying lawsuits challenging the adequacy of the environmental review process undertaken by the federal government.

Chad Padgett, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Alaska state director, defended the review process Wednesday as rigorous and disputed critics' claims that the sale had been rushed. He called the sale a success.

The land management agency has said under an “optimistic, aggressive hypothetical scenario" exploration could begin within two years after a lease sale, with production eight years after a sale.

Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, said while the sale's results “may not have been as robust as we might have expected, industry still supports future access to this area."

“Today's sale reflects the brutal economic realities the oil and gas industry continues to face after the unprecedented events of 2020, coupled with ongoing regulatory uncertainty,” she said in a statement.

Adam Kolton, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League, called the sale “a huge embarrassment” for Alaska's congressional delegation, which supported the decades-long push to open the coastal plain to drilling, and to President Donald Trump's administration.

“Essentially, the Trump administration had a party, hoped the oil industry would show up, and it didn't,” he said. Kolton called the sale the “death knell for anybody who's arguing that this is going to be an oil, jobs and revenue bonanza. I mean, they've just been unmasked."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Capitol complex secure after violent occupation
Officials have declared the U.S. Capitol complex “secure” after heavily armed police moved to end a nearly four-hour violent occupation by supporters of President Donald Trump
5:54PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Ossoff seals Democrats' sweep; will be youngest US senator
As a teenager, Jon Ossoff was inspired by John Lewis’ pivotal role in the civil rights movement when Lewis was just in his early 20s
5:52PM ( 3 minutes ago )
The Latest: Police use tear gas to clear Capitol grounds
Police are using tear gas and percussion grenades to begin clearing pro-Trump protesters from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol ahead of a curfew in Washington
5:44PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden calls on mob to 'pull back,' urges restoring decency
President-elect Joe Biden is calling for the restoration of “simple decency” after a mob incited by his predecessor stormed the U.S. Capitol and delayed Congress from certifying Biden's November election victory
5:11PM ( 44 minutes ago )
World leaders express shock at storming of US Capitol
World leaders are condemning the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump
5:11PM ( 45 minutes ago )
The Latest: Pro-Trump demonstrators swarm capitals across US
Pro-Trump demonstrators have massed outside statehouses across the country, forcing evacuations in at least two states
5:09PM ( 46 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Media captures unprecedented storming of U.S. Capitol
Stunning scenes of President Donald Trump's supporters storming the U.S. Capitol played out in searing fashion on national television
4:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
John Ossoff wins runoff, giving Democrats control of Senate
Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has won his Senate runoff election
4:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
American idle: New Hampshire House holds drive-in session
The New Hampshire House has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the violence in Washington
4:21PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Congress News
Fed supported advance notice before changing bond purchases
Federal Reserve officials last month supported providing advance notice before the central bank makes changes to its $120 billion in monthly bond purchases
5:01PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Whan makes surprise decision to leave as LPGA commissioner
Mike Whan is leaving the LPGA Tour after 11 years as commissioner
4:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Justice Department, federal court system hit by Russian hack
The Justice Department and federal court system have disclosed they were compromised as part of a massive breach of federal government agencies that U.S. officials have linked to Russia
4:47PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Florida company accused of steering vaccines to rich donors
Florida has launched an investigation into an upscale nursing home whose executives are accused of steering coronavirus vaccines to wealthy donors and members of a country club, along with its residents and employees
3:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
VIRUS TODAY: Death of 9 nuns highlights toll of coronavirus
The nation's governors are growing impatient for hospitals and other health care organizations to vaccine their front-line workers
3:18PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: US reports 29 severe allergic reactions to shot
U.S. health officials say they have reports of at least 29 people developing severe allergic reactions to the coronavirus vaccines, but they stress that the risk for most people is low
1:44PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Asian shares mostly lower as virus, China-US tensions weigh
Asian shares are mostly lower as surging virus counts and China-U.S. tensions weigh on sentiment
12:58AM ( 16 hours ago )
Runoff for Public Service Commission also on Georgia ballots
In addition to Georgia's twin U.S. Senate runoffs, voters on Tuesday are also deciding a race for the state’s Public Service Commission
11:28PM ( 18 hours ago )
Regulators get plan for undoing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
The developers of the now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline are laying out plans for how they want to go about unwinding their work and restoring disturbed land
6:37PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
The Latest: Police use tear gas to clear Capitol grounds
Police are using tear gas and percussion grenades to begin clearing pro-Trump protesters from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol ahead of a curfew in Washington
5:44PM ( 11 minutes ago )
2 detectives involved in Breonna Taylor's death are fired
Two more officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor have been fired — a detective believed to have fired the fatal shot and another who sought the search warrant that led to the deadly raid
5:43PM ( 13 minutes ago )
The Latest: GOP Sen. Sasse blames Trump for Capitol storming
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse is directly blaming President Donald Trump for the storming of the Capitol by huge, angry crowds of pro-Trump protesters
5:33PM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Quebec imposing 8 p.m. curfew beginning Saturday
Quebec premier is imposing a provincewide 8 p.m. curfew beginning Saturday as a way to curb surging coronavirus infections and hospitalizations
5:29PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Browns' Stefanski: 'We've got to find a way' vs Steelers
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski says he feels well despite contracting COVID-19, but that he's obviously disappointed he'll have to miss Sunday's playoff game in Pittsburgh
5:22PM ( 33 minutes ago )