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Trump Administration Conducts First Anwr Coastal Plain Oil & Gas Lease Sale

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 1/6/2021, Location: North America

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received bids covering 552,802 acres at the first oil and gas lease sale for the Coastal Plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), furthering the Trump Administration’s goal of securing greater American energy independence and national economic prosperity. BLM Alaska received 13 bids totaling $14,412,458 and opened them during the video livestream event.

The bids are currently under review. The State of Alaska will receive 50 percent of the accepted bid receipts.

The BLM offered 22 tracts, spanning approximately 1.1 million acres of the eligible 1.56 million acres designated by Congress for oil and gas development and included in the 2020 Record of Decision (ROD) for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program. BLM withdrew approximately 460,000 acres (10 tracts) from the lease sale after receiving substantive input from Alaska Native Tribes, nongovernmental organizations and the Canadian government. Most of the substantive comments focused on the core calving area of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and the importance of polar bear and migratory bird habitat, in particular snow geese.

A map and table with today’s complete sale results by tract is available at www.blm.gov/alaska.

"Today's results reflect industry’s and the State’s commitment to responsible oil and gas development on the North Slope of Alaska,” said BLM Alaska State Director Chad Padgett. “Recent assessments show that the North Slope of Alaska will remain an important asset in meeting the energy needs of our nation."

“Today is a great day and the result of many Alaskans’ tireless efforts over the course of decades. The first lease sale in the non-wilderness 1002 Area did not occur under ideal conditions, but it will benefit Alaskans both in the short-term and well into the future,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). “I thank Secretary Bernhardt and his team for creating a balanced program for responsible development and ensuring this sale was carried out as required by law. The resources that stand to be produced from a very small part of the 1002 Area will be critical to creating jobs, generating revenues, refilling the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and ensuring our nation’s continued energy security. I look forward to leases being awarded to the winning bidders in the near future, and to the continued faithful implementation of this important program.”

“Today is a momentous and historic day for all Alaskans. After forty years and extensive congressional and administrative consideration, we have finally achieved a lease sale for the 1002 Area of ANWR as Congress mandated in 2017,” said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK). “I want to thank Secretary Bernhardt and the Interior Department staff for creating a comprehensive and durable leasing program that appropriately balances resource development and environmental protection in the 1002 Area. This lease sale is a testament to their good work and provides the basis for further development as Congress laid out in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I look forward to orderly development in the 1002 that will provide good-paying jobs for hard-working Alaskans, fill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and boost our economy. But this effort would not have come to pass without the support and tireless advocacy of Alaskans, most importantly, those who live in ANWR. Today’s achievement belongs to these Alaskans for their grit and perseverance, and I celebrate with all of them.”

“This is a monumental day for Alaska. After our fight of over four decades, the first lease sale in the 1002 area of ANWR is here. Securing drilling rights on the Coastal Plain has been one of my career's highest priorities, and seeing the culmination of hard work by countless individuals, including our late Senator Ted Stevens, is very special to witness,” said Representative Don Young (R-AK-At-Large). “This is a tremendous step forward for our state and the countless Alaskans who make a living in our energy sector. We are finally achieving what was promised when President Carter signed ANILCA into law. Alaskans have always been good stewards of their own land, and they know how to balance environmental protection with energy development. BLM's lease sale is good news not only for energy independence but also for the primarily Alaska Native community of Kaktovik, who have been steadfast partners in the fight to explore for energy in ANWR. The positive economic impact this will have for the Inupiat people is immense, and will help provide them with good-paying jobs, upward mobility, and the basic infrastructure that too many of us take for granted. I want to thank President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt, and everyone at BLM who has worked diligently to help make today a reality. I look forward to the results of this lease sale, and will be waiting with great excitement for the day oil rigs finally arrive, and drilling begins.”

Background

When President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 into law, the question was settled on whether the leasing, exploration and development of oil and gas will occur on about 8 percent of the refuge that lies within an oil and gas province of national significance. The legislation was unique because it didn’t just allow for an oil and gas development program, it requires one that delivers energy to the nation and revenue to the treasury, including critical conservation programs through the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 directs the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the BLM, to conduct at least two area-wide leasing sales, not less than 400,000 acres each, within the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Program area of ANWR. The lease sales must be held within seven years with the first lease sale taking place before December 22, 2021 and the second lease sale before December 22, 2024.

The Record of Decision provides protections for surface resources and other uses, including subsistence use, through a comprehensive package of lease stipulations and required operating procedures that will apply to future oil and gas activities.

A majority of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program area will be subject to no surface occupancy restrictions (359,400 acres) and operational timing limitations (585,400 acres) to protect habitat and wildlife. All permitted activities will incorporate required operating procedures and stipulated restrictions based on the best science and technology to ensure that energy development does not come at the expense of the environment.

On November 17, 2020, the BLM sought public input and nominations on all available tracts within the ANWR Coastal Plain. The BLM received comments and nominations on tracts available and substantive comments on deferring areas. BLM Alaska made the detailed statement of sale, including a description of the tracts offered for lease, the lease terms, conditions and special stipulations available on the BLM Oil and Gas Lease Sale Page.

During the development of the 2020 ROD and EIS the BLM received almost two million public comments, each of which were considered in developing an environmentally responsible plan for Congress’s oil and gas program. More than 70 specialists contributed their expertise to the analysis, working more than 30,000 hours to ensure the plan was thorough and robust.

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