In the final days of the previous administration, drilling leases for 550,000 acres in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were auctioned off. The auction ended in failure as almost no major oil companies participated. Now, the Biden administration is revoking those arctic refugee drilling rights.
This action was a long time coming due to an executive order signed on his first day in office. This order put a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing activities around the country. In other words, all leasing activities were halted.
Now the administration is permanently revoking the arctic refuge drilling rights.
Why Did the Arctic Refuge Drilling Auction Fail?
It might seem strange to see all of the major oil companies avoid the auction, but there were a variety of factors at play.
For starters, this auction was one of the last actions of the previous administration. It was clear that when the Biden administration took over, it was pushing for a greener future and openly condemned the auction.
Thus, the companies realized that doing more drilling was not in their best interests.
Next on the list was that the auction was a PR nightmare. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that drilling in a wildlife reserve and destroying the habitats of the animals that live there is not something anyone will be happy to hear.
Most of these companies are also focusing much of their resources on exploring renewable energy and expanding in that direction. The data is clear, renewable energy will be the big player in the energy sector in the next 20 years.
Thus, purchasing highly controversial land for a resource that the entire world is trying to move away from doesn’t make sense.
Hence, no one was at the auction.
What’s the Response Been?
As you might have guessed, it’s very positive, but not without its critics.
Many people are praising the move because it preserves the wildlife refuge and sends a strong message to oil companies. This is also very positive for native tribes in the region that have been against the drilling on their land from the start.
Yet on the other side, it’s a different story.
Critics claim it will hurt the economy of Alaska and threaten their energy sector. The end result will be fewer jobs and commerce for the state as a whole.
The Message Is Clear
One thing is perfectly clear, the Biden administration is committed to the environment.
In less than six months, the administration has closed the Keystone Pipeline, reversed multiple environmental rollbacks, rejoined the Paris Agreement, promised a 52% cut in emissions, and still has more plans for making America sustainable.
The environment and climate change will continue to remain the primary concern of the administration.
Companies and organizations that were not doing their part before are certainly coming around. Not only is the administration putting pressure on these areas, but the public is too. This is having a major effect on large organizations.
For instance, major banks are investing trillions into green projects and more companies are pursuing individual sustainable goals.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.