Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority wins majority of bids in wrong-headed Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lease sale
DENVER -- Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) was Wednesday’s highest bidder for 9 of the 11 tracts leased in the Trump administration’s sale for oil drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Their bid puts them at odds with the American public and the incoming Biden administration, who both overwhelmingly support protecting the refuge and oppose drilling in this pristine area. AIDEA is a state agency tasked with “providing financing and assistance to Alaska businesses.”
After years of pushing from oil companies, it is notable that none of the leases were awarded to those corporations. The Congressional Budget Office projected revenues from arctic refuge lease sales at $1.8 billion. Today’s sale raised just over $14 million, less than 1 percent of the projected revenue.
Ellen Montgomery, Public Lands Director for Environment America, issued the following statement:
“The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a national treasure and yet, the Trump administration has been determined to rush this ‘going out of business’ oil lease sale through. It’s a tone deaf effort that runs counter to public opinion, major banks and the incoming administration -- all of which have all expressed concern that destructive oil drilling will deeply endanger one of America’s most iconic wild spaces and the wildlife that live there. We are thankful that major oil companies have come to the right conclusion and opted not to bid. But it’s deeply disheartening that AIDEA decided to bid, given that they are not an oil company. As a state entity tasked with supporting Alaska businesses, participating in this lease sale was out of their lane at best. We call on the Biden administration to quickly put the kibosh on this misguided effort to commence drilling in this wildlife refuge.”