Good news -- the Biden administration is taking the necessary legal steps toward preventing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from being plundered by oil and gas drilling companies.
The Interior Department is suspending leases that were finalized in Trump's last days while an environmental review is conducted.
Former President Donald Trump and his team made greenlighting oil development in the Arctic refuge a top priority, and in its final two weeks in office followed through on selling off drilling rights. The lease sale was a major flop, with just three entities — two small oil companies and an Alaska state-owned economic development corporation ― bidding on roughly half of the 1.09 million acres up for grabs. The sale brought in just $14.4 million, less than 1% of the [Trump] administration’s estimate that oil and gas development in the refuge would generate $1.8 billion in federal revenue over a decade.
The Biden review will determine whether approved leases “should be reaffirmed, voided, or subject to additional mitigation measures,” the Interior Department said in its announcement.
Even if the Trump regime's sale of drilling rights had been as financially successfully as they hallucinated it would be, it still wouldn't make sense to go forward with it. The pristine wilderness is irreplaceable and $1.8 billion over 10 years is virtually nothing.
Even if you don't care about caribou, it should be obvious to everyone that oil and drilling rights won't even be as valuable in ten years as the world shifts further and further toward an electric future. Opening up the refuge for drilling now in 2021 is an environmental, cultural, and financial dead end.
It's kind of like building a large factory in Wisconsin to build outdated LCD displays. That didn't happen either but the cost to the government was still enormous.