WASHINGTON – Trump administration officials auctioned off oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, a move that marks one of the most significant environmental rollbacks President Trump has accomplished in his term.
But with waning oil prices and an increasing number of banks saying they would not finance Arctic energy projects, major oil companies were uninterested in the leases. Instead, the state agency, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, was the main bidder. The agency put up all but two of the winning bids, which went to two small energy firms.
Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, had this to say about the news:
“Yesterday’s almost non-existent bidding for oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were not surprising. It confirms what we already know to be true: the era of drilling for oil at any cost is over.
“There is simply no realistic future scenario under which high-cost drilling in the Refuge will be viable. The world is awash in unneeded oil and gas reserves, the energy market is moving away from high-carbon fossil fuel energy, and the human and environmental costs of drilling in this highly sensitive area are too high.”