Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
The sale of oil and gas drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was supposed to bring in upwards of $1 billion, but in the end, the first of the auctions mandated by Congress at the urging of President Trump brought in only $14M— a pittance of the projection and of the amount bid for offshore wind rights. Moreover, the winning bidder in almost every case was none other than the state of Alaska itself.
But, but, but — the Associated Press reports that in the western U.S., energy companies have bought up enough drilling permits on western public lands to keep pumping out oil and gas for years.
Why This Matters: Banks won’t underwrite Arctic drilling, so it is unclear those ANWR leases will be drilled ever. But the leases in the Trump leasing bonanza in the lower 48 could put a serious dent in President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to curb new drilling because of climate change.
ANWR Drilling Dreams Face New Reality
Arctic drilling is no longer feasible — in the U.S. or anywhere other than perhaps Russia. In the last year, many major banks have refused to provide financial backing and public support for the projects has diminished since Congress mandated the sale in the 2017 tax cut bill. One more sale is required by 2022. This is the first time a state has bought the leasing rights for oil and gas. “To my knowledge, this has never happened before, that a state bids on federal leases within their own state,” Jenny Rowland-Shea, a senior public lands policy analyst at the Center for American Progress told The Hill. The sale brought in only $14.4 million dollars, roughly $27 per acre, prompting Congressman Jared Huffman to argue on Twitter that “Trump is giving away treasured land in the Arctic Refuge at rock bottom prices in today’s oil/gas lease sale,” calling the sale a human right violation for the Gwich’in tribe for whom the area is sacred.
Lower 48 Sees Rapid Lease Sales Increase Last Fall
The Associated Press (AP) analyzed government data about recent lease sales and found that oil and gas companies have been stockpiling leases on the oil-rich federal lands in New Mexico and Wyoming. And as President-elect Biden increased his lead over President Donald Trump during the fall the sales increased greatly, peaking in December, aided by all the Trump administration rules making the speeding permitting approvals. The numbers are huge. The AP’s analysis shows that the Bureau of Land Management officials approved almost 1,400 drilling applications during the fall, amidst the pandemic, which is the largest number of approvals during Trump’s four-year term. To stop the drilling, the government would have to spend tens of millions essentially buy the permits back, according to a former senior Interior Department official. It might take years to get them to sell — the government just finished buying the last of numerous permits in pristine areas of Montana, where officials spent decades trying to buy out companies with drilling leases near Glacier National Park.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Would you support or oppose the government moving the country to a 100% clean energy electricity grid by 2035? That’s the question Washington-based think tank Third Way posed across the country. It turns out that a majority of voters support federal action to reach a 100% clean energy grid. […]
Last week, the Battle Born Solar Project in Nevada, which would have been the largest solar farm in the US, was canceled after a coalition of local activists lobbied against it for being an “eyesore.” As Electrek reported, California-based Arevia Power and Solar Partners VII LLC withdrew their application with the Bureau of Land Management […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Carbon pricing has been a part of how the European Union penalizes carbon emissions since 2005. As part of the EU’s Fit for 55 update to the carbon market, emission trading expands to include heating and road transportation. However, instead of folding them into the broader market, these two […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.