The Trump regime is coming to an end and that means it's time to smash and grab whatever they can on their way out the door. It's time to court favor with the industries and law firms that might give them jobs when they're out of Washington.
Officials at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have opened up the bidding process for drilling across 1.6 million acres of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; a refuge that has been untouched by industrial operations since before I was even born.
Companies interested in drilling through the homes of various wildlife can submit their proposals beginning today, but the formal sale will not begin until January at the earliest possible opportunity. This is another policy that will take effect just days before Trump is out of office.
The official "call for nominations" launches a 30-day comment period. It will also allow the Bureau of Land Management to move forward with a lease sale, which it must announce 30 days in advance. The exact timing is not clear, but it raises the possibility that a lease sale might happen just days before Biden's inauguration. [...]
"This timeline indicates that they're trying to cram this through in a way that would cut out consideration for public concern," says Brook Brisson, senior staff attorney at Trustees for Alaska, an Anchorage-based environmental law firm.
Trustees for Alaska is among several groups, and a coalition of 15 states, that filed lawsuits earlier this year aimed at derailing drilling plans for the Arctic refuge. The suits are still winding their way through the court system.
Even if you don't consider yourself an environmentalist and even if you don't care about the environment at all, you should recognize that this is a waste of resources, time, and money.
We're already past the point of peak demand for oil according to the CEO of the Shell Corporation. Demand is never going to recover to pre-coronavirus pandemic highs and only decrease as more states and entire countries mandate gasoline cars out of existence. California will ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035 and Britain has mandated as much by 2030. And that's just the beginning.
Someone will undoubtedly profit from drilling in the Alaskan wilderness, but at what cost? Are we going to enrich a handful of people just to produce a resource of dwindling value?
I suppose we are unless legal advocates can block the sale just long enough for the Biden administration to call it off.
It occurs to me that we're just four years removed from a group of right wing ideologues occupying a wildlife refuge because the Bureau of Land Management billed a local rancher for burning federal land. In 2020, the bureau is auctioning off the rights to burn federal land.