President Donald Trump's administration missed the target date of holding the first-ever oil drilling lease sale in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2019 due to delays with the environmental review process. However, the administration's $4.8 trillion proposed budget for 2021 includes $1.06 billion in anticipated revenue from the lease sale this year and $502 million in 2021.
"An ANWR 1002 lease sale is the first step in opening an opportunity to responsibly develop Alaska's abundant oil and gas resources in an area that was specifically set aside for oil and gas development but has been held hostage administratively for many years," Governor Mike Dunleavy says.
"ANWR 1002 leasing will provide local jobs, grow our private sector economy, and put more oil in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System [TAPS]. Additionally, this would result in putting dollars in our Permanent Fund and state and federal treasuries. We fully recognize the importance of this resource in the nation's overall strategy of energy independence."
ANWR in total is 19 million acres, with wilderness dominating 18 million acres of the area; more than 94 percent of the refuge is permanently protected and can never be developed, explains Alaska Oil and Gas Association President and CEO Kara Moriarty.
Area 1002, the only section of ANWR in which lease sales would take place, comprises about 1 million acres. Within that area, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt--through the Bureau of Land Management--is directed to establish two area-wide leasing sales of at least 400,000 acres each. Congress has limited the footprint for oil and gas ground facilities to about 2,000 acres.
With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Trump advanced decades-long efforts to develop the 1002 Area by directing the Department of Interior to hold lease sales.
In September, the Department of Interior released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, clearing the way for development. At least 13,000 labor hours were dedicated to creating the EIS.
Among those who played a crucial role in the planning process were staff from Fish and Wildlife Services, who 'developed the range of alternatives contained in the EIS as well as the protective mitigation measures," according to a Department of the Interior statement.
"After rigorous review, robust public comment, and a consideration of a range of alternatives, today's announcement is a...