Recap of Alaska’s Top-3 Energy Stories: #1 – ANWR is Open! Lease Sale Occurs

Recap of Alaska’s Top-3 Energy Stories:  #1 – ANWR is Open!  Lease Sale Occurs

December 31, 2020

As we get ready to turn the calendar to 2021, PTF Alaska State Director, Rick Whitbeck, looks back at the top energy-related stories of the year in the Great Land. 

When the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhauer in 1960, environmentalists (the ones holding traditional ecological viewpoints that most Americans subscribe to, and not the radicalized ones who are small in number but loud in voice now) cheered.  The area was home to flora and fauna, birds and animals, in the northernmost – and newly-minted – US state of Alaska.

In 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The bill was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on December 2, 1980.  Part of ANILCA provided for an expansion of the refuge, during which 1.5 million acres of the coastal plain was designated as the 1002 area, and mandated studies of the natural resources that might be available in the area – especially petroleum – were ordered.

The fight to study, explore and safely develop the 1002 area raged for 37 years, with Congress unwilling to open it up for decades, due in large part to immense pressure from radical environmental groups.  In late 2017, under the leadership of President Trump and heroic efforts from Alaska’s US Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, along with Congressman Don Young, ANWR was approved for 1002 development.

By far, Alaska’s top energy story of 2020 is the lease sale for no less than 400,000 total acres that ends today at 4:00 PM Alaska time.  When the bids are opened on January 6th, 2021, a new milestone will be created, and responsible development will be one step closer to reality.

Hurdles to the project remain.  Eco-extremist groups have already filed suit to stop the lease sale, and a new administration could scuttle future development.  But for now, the push to open the 1002 is on, and it is a monumental story that tops the rest of 2020’s news.

Power The Future looks forward to continuing to advocate for opportunities to grow Alaska’s resource-based prospects in 2021.  As founder and Executive Director Daniel Turner wrote in an email yesterday, “We have a hard four years ahead of us, and that’s why we’re going to work harder than ever to defend the men and women who power our nation. We are going to fight for every American family that deserves to be able to afford to heat their homes. We are going to call out the politician who would lead us right back to dependence on foreign oil from hostile nations.”

Happy New Year, and thanks for being a part of our side, as we fight for America’s energy workers.