The government of U.S held its first lease sale of Petroleum and gas for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska, an event critics labeled a failure with major oil companies on the sidelines and a state corporation emerging as the top bidder.
Offer was in review
The sale, which was carried out on schedule as a judge rejected requests from indigenous groups and conservationists to stop the event, garnered bids for half of the 22 lands that were listed as available on the refuge’s coastal plain. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which conducted the sale, said the offers were under review.
The rugged remote waterfront area of Beaufort is considered sacred by the Gwich’in Indians. Critics of the lease sale say the region is special, that it provides habitat for wildlife, including caribou, polar bears, wolves and birds, and that they should be off-limits to drilling.
Supporters of drilling have viewed development as a way to boost oil production, generate income, and create or maintain jobs.
A state corporation, the Industrial Development and Export Authority of Alaska, was the highest bidder in the sale. Its CEO, Alan Weitzner, said in a statement by acquiring nine extensions, “Alaska preserves the right to responsibly develop its natural resources.”
They praise leasing
Members of the state congressional delegation, in a statement issued by the land management agency, hailed the day as momentous. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, on Twitter, called the lease sale “historic for Alaska and tremendous for the United States ”.
Alaskans have waited for this moment for two generations; I am with them in support of this day, ”he said.
Kate MacGregor, an undersecretary of the Department of the Interior, said the sale marked, in part, the Trump administration’s commitment to working “to meet America’s energy security goal for decades to come.”