Although Trump and his regime could potentially be voted out of office in November, that's not stopping them from announcing policies that could be imposed during the "lame duck" season between November and January.
The Interior Department has just announced that they will follow through on a multi-decade Republican campaign to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
The department reportedly plans to open up the bidding process for access to public lands in December according to the Wall Street Journal.
The action will open the pristine 19 million-acre wilderness to drilling for the first time, after more than 30 years of oil-industry lobbying for such access. The leasing auction will begin around the end of the year, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told the paper, which will make it difficult to unwind the decision should Democrats, who are largely opposed to the drilling, recapture the White House in November. Environmentalists have raised concerns about the impact drilling could have on the polar bears and caribou herds in the remote refuge in northeast Alaska and also want the U.S. to migrate toward job-producing alternative energy sources, including solar and wind. Republicans largely argue that more U.S. drilling increases independence from producers OPEC and Russia, and thus is a national-security matter.
If Biden wins in November, it's very likely that his transition team will ask the Trump regime to cancel the bidding process, but I don't expect they will listen.
It's customary and normal for an outgoing administration to largely obey the requests of the incoming administration, but I have absolutely no expectation that will happen if Trump loses. If anything, I expect the Trump regime will wreck as many things as they possibly can on the way out the door.
I think it's fair to say that's exactly what this is; one last give-away to donors in the oil industry that will benefit Republicans for years to come even if it doesn't benefit Trump himself.
The idea that we need to drill for oil in the remote Alaskan wilderness for national security reasons is just as preposterous as imposing tariffs on Chinese-made inflatable pool toys in the name of national security. The United States exports a significant amount of energy including oil and any oil pumped out of the Arctic will also be sold on the global market, not reserved for our exclusive use.
The United States was already up to 91 percent self sufficient as of 2016 according to the Energy Department's Information Administration. Energy independence is within reach if not already here without drilling in the arctic.
The price of oil briefly dipped below zero earlier this year because the coronavirus pandemic means there's far more supply than demand for it. Drilling for oil in the Arctic could simply generate more supply that no needs at a time when the most valuable automaker in the world, Tesla, makes exclusively electric cars.
Hopefully, legal challenges will delay the Interior Department's plans.