Statement: Another oil leaseholder pulls out of the Arctic Refuge

Media Contacts
Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

Two of three leaseholders from a 2021 lease sale have canceled their leases, leaving only an Alaska state agency with an interest in the refuge

DENVER — A second company to be awarded Arctic Refuge oil leases during the January 2021 lease sale held in the final days of the Trump administration has canceled its lease, according to a Politico article published Monday.

There were leases awarded to three entities in the January sale. In June 2022, 88 Energy terminated their lease, leaving a single lease held by Knik Arm Services LLC, an Alaska-based company. Now that Knik Arm Services has pulled out, all of the remaining oil leases in the Arctic Refuge,are held by state agency Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). 

The coastal plain, where oil-leased lands are located, is often referred to as the “biological heart” of the refuge. Hundreds of thousands of caribou migrate hundreds of miles annually to give birth there, millions of migratory birds flock there to nest and polar bears den on the coastal plain over the winter. 

In response, Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:

“This is yet more evidence that the January 2021 lease sale was a complete flop. It makes no sense to drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge. Knik Arm Services and the oil companies have all arrived at the same conclusion that drilling in the coastal plain would be a bad business decision. AIDEA should now cancel their leases and leave the refuge to the caribou, birds and other wildlife who rely on the Arctic Refuge for survival. Going forward, we must ensure that the next foolish lease sale is never held.”