US leases long-sought Alaskan oil rights in Trump’s final days

Published on: 07/01/2021 – 02:06Amended: 07/01/2021 – 02:04

New York (AFP)

The administration of US President Donald Trump auctioned off 11 oil leases in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, in a final move to expand drilling into areas coveted by some oil producers before stepping down .

The big oil companies, however, gave up bidding on leaflets in the environmentally sensitive area, and nine of the leases went to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a state agency, while two went to small businesses.

The sale raised $ 14 million.

The White House announced plans to proceed with the sale in mid-November, just weeks after Trump lost his reelection bid to former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden.

An area long sought after by oil interests and defended by environmentalists, drilling in the refuge was authorized in the 2017 tax reform legislation.

But some big banks have said they will not fund projects in the shelter, and environmentalists continue to fight the plan in court.

Home Department Assistant Secretary Kate McGregor described the sale as a “truly historic” event that “will translate into economic benefits for Alaskans and the nation, and help (increase) energy production. domestic and job creation ”.

The Alaska Wilderness League blasted the move and condemned the sale as “a complete failure,” which was “less than one percent of the $ 1.8 billion promised by the Tax Act when leasing the arctic refuge has been commissioned, ”the environmental group said on Twitter.

“We will not stop fighting for Protectthe Arctic! “

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