Congress Recognized the Coastal Plain in 1980 for the Oil Potential: Power The Future Energy Hour Recap with Chad Padgett, Alaska State Director, BLM

Congress Recognized the Coastal Plain in 1980 for the Oil Potential: Power The Future Energy Hour Recap with Chad Padgett, Alaska State Director, BLM

December 9, 2020

As election results continue to be disputed on a federal level, this week’s Power The Future Energy Hour, hosted by Alaska State Director Rick Whitbeck, began to break down the changes Alaska could see with an administration change in January.

After an opening segment where he shared his thoughts on a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that impacted Hilcorp’s Liberty project, he spoke with Daniel Turner, Power The Future’s founder and Executive Director, in segment two.  They discussed the hypocrisy of the eco-Left as it relates to moving to “green” energy without using domestic mined materials.  Daniel also noted that the reliance on China and other countries would impact US manufacturing and support jobs; all designed to weaken the US under a Democrat-led government.

The last half of the show featured a first-time guest.  Chad Padgett is the Alaska State Director for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  BLM has been in the news a lot the past week, as they’ve initiated a number of noteworthy actions to open additional federal lands for potential future development.

Rick and Chad began by talking about the upcoming lease sale for developing the Coastal Plain of ANWR.  Chad noted a recent milestone, saying “I’d be remiss, especially where we recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of ANILCA…there’s a lot of folks that aren’t aware that in 1980, when ANILCA was passed, ANWR was recognized, in the Coastal Plain, for the oil potential.”  He went on to outline the steps taken by Congress over the decades, culminating with actions to begin the development process as part of 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

From there, Chad outlined BLM’s mandate to move the process forward, and spoke about how over 70 employees logged more than 30,000 man-hours studying potential impacts in the steps leading to last weeks’ announcement of a lease sale.  He also noted that once companies bid on the leases, there will be additional review and comment periods.

The last segment focused on two more BLM projects that had milestones recently announced.  First focused on additional lands being opened in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) and how BLM had worked for the last couple of years with stakeholders in the area to find ways to minimize potential impacts while moving forward with potential development.  Chad noted that 50% of NPR-A had been off-limits for production, but the new plan would open 82% of the lands for potential development.  They developed it as a long-term plan to bring resource development in balance with environmental stewardship, while taking into consideration the cultural and relationships with the local people. 

The last topic discussed was the final EIS for the Bering Sea and Western Interior (BSWI) Resource Management plan. The plan would open up nearly 13.5 million acres (Chad noted the area is twice as big as the state of Maryland!) for future mining development.  He noted, however, that less than 2% of that acreage was designated as being high-grade potential.  It will also allow for Vietnam-era Alaska Native veterans to be given the land allotments rightfully due them; fulfilling a long-fought promise.

We thank Chad for taking time out of his exceptionally busy schedule to join us on the Energy Hour.

If you missed this week’s show live, you can still catch it – as well as every episode from the past 22 months – on Power the Future’s Soundcloud.

The Energy Hour can be heard live every Tuesday night from 5:00-6:00 PM local time on KNVT (92.5 FM, 1020 AM and online at  The show (also replayed during the same hour on Saturday night) is heard throughout Southcentral Alaska communities, and acts as a recap of Power The Future activities in Alaska, as well as an opportunity to hear from various members of Alaska’s energy and political communities.  Feel free to reach out to with show ideas or feedback!