Following the announcement from the Biden administration that it is freezing oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) is issuing the following statement:
“Today’s announcement is disappointing as it seemingly ignores the local Iñupiat voices of the North Slope of Alaska, and it fails to consider the beneficial impacts this exploration will provide to our communities. Our shareholders and the approximately 9,500 residents of the North Slope directly benefit, given such exploration brings important job opportunities and economic infrastructure support to our remote region. For decades, leaders across the North Slope have joined our congressional delegation and other state officials in supporting safe and responsible development of a small portion of ANWR’s coastal plain, which was advanced by Congressional legislation in 2017. The Biden administration’s decision to stall this progress not only reneges on promises made to producers that took part in January’s oil lease sale but also does not take into account the benefits to our region. We are disheartened by this decision, as opening the 1002 Area to oil and gas development is a valuable way to bring jobs and opportunity – like health clinics, support for our schools and other benefits – to our communities.”
The coastal plain, also known as the 1002 Area, is believed to hold a mean estimate of 10.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil. ASRC owns title to 92,000 acres of subsurface rights within the 1002 Area, with Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation owning title to the surface rights.