State-run corporation will consider making bids on oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 6:46 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a public corporation of the State of Alaska, is considering bidding up to $20 million on oil leases inside of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The AIDEA board of directors will hold discussions on the matter during its Wednesday meeting. In response, the Alaska Public Interest Research Group issued a critical response to the timeline of the public notice regarding that meeting.

“AIDEA’s disregard for the public process is evident when providing public notice of meetings only three working days before meeting to discuss and vote on this important and far-reaching resolution. That is unreasonable and disrespects the Alaskan public,” said AKPIRG Executive Director Veri di Suvero.

The news comes in the wake of several major banking institutions announcing that they would no longer fund projects in the Arctic. Gov. Mike Dunleavy plans to respond through legislation that would cut ties between the state and any bank that refuses to help finance oil and gas developments in Alaska.

“It’s just simple … If you don’t want to support Alaska’s main industry, which provides all of our revenue, that’s fine. We are going to make a conscious decision not to support your activities here in the state of Alaska,” Gov. Dunleavy said on Dec. 16. “We will look for other partners, which we’ll have mutual benefits with, working together on some of these activities.”

According to AIDEA’s webpage, the corporation’s mission is to “promote, develop and advance the general prosperity and economic welfare of the people of Alaska, to relieve problems of unemployment, and to create additional employment.”

Alaska’s News Source reached out to AIDEA on Tuesday morning, regarding the corporation’s motivations for potentially submitting bids; however, specific details regarding the corporation’s interest in the sale were not available at the time of publication.

The governor’s office told Alaska’s News Source via email that AIDEA’s decision to consider whether or not to bid was not the result of directives from the administration.

When asked about the Bureau of Land Management’s recent decision to remove nearly 475,000 acres of land from the lease sale, the governor’s team provided the following response:

Former Govs. Bill Walker and Frank Murkowski have also spoken out recently, in support of the concept of having the state place bids on ANWR leases.

Sealed bids are being accepted, from now until Dec. 31. The Bureau of Land Management will open those bids for final consideration on Jan. 6.

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