In 2017, leasing of the Coastal Plain of the Refuge for oil and gas development become law through a provision included within the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Specifically the provision mandates two lease sales, of at least 400,000 acres each, in the Refuge’s Coastal Plain for oil and gas development, production and transportation ‘by not later than 10 years after the date of enactment’.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has begun the process of implementing an oil and gas leasing program of the Coastal Plain.
Pre Lease Sale
Before the lease sale could occur, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) had to be completed.
In 2018, BLM officially started the EIS process for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program and have followed an aggressive timeline in order to complete the process. In August 2020, the Record of Decision was published and identified that the BLM would be proceeding with the most destructive drilling alternative possible, which offers the entire Coastal Plain of the Refuge for oil and gas leasing (Alternative B).
The Parties of the Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement and the Porcupine Caribou Management Board participated in the EIS process by submitting comments during the various public comment periods. You can see all of their comments here.
Following the release of the Record of Decision, the BLM proceeded through the lease sale process issuing the Call for Nominations for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in November 2020. The Call for Nominations is the process to identify areas to be offered in the forthcoming lease sale and is typically used for industry to comment on what areas are of most interest for them.
The Parties of the Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement and the Porcupine Caribou Management Board participated in the Call for Nominations process by submitting comments during the public comment period. You can see all of their comments here.
In December 2020, the Notice of Lease Sale and Detailed Statement of Sale were issued stating the a lease sale of the Coastal Plain would proceed on January 6, 2021.
On January 6, 2021, the BLM opened bids received for oil and gas leases of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Complete high bids were received for over 500,000 acres of the over 1 million acres of Coastal Plain offered in the lease sale (11 tracts of the 22 tracts offered) and totalled just over $14 million with an average price of $26 per acre.
Post Lease Sale
Leases of the Coastal Plain were issued to:
- Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (Tract 16, 17, 24, 26, 27, 30, 31)
- Knik Arm Services LLC (Tract 25) and;
- Regenerate Alaska Inc (Tract 29).
See Happening Now for the latest information.