Jun 26, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Trump admin proposes drilling on over two-thirds of largest plot of U.S. public land

A welcome to alaska sign
Photo: Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday proposed to expand oil and gas drilling to over two-thirds of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska: the nation's largest stretch of public land.

Why it matters: Alaska's all-GOP congressional delegation — including Sens. Dan Sullivan, Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young — is praising the plan as a means to boost the state's economy, per the Washington Post. But environmental advocates are lamenting the potential loss of wildlife protections for the Alaskan tract that have spanned over four decades.

  • The roughly 23-million-acre reserve is estimated to hold 8.7 billion barrels of untapped oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Half of the reservation is already open for drilling.

Yes, but... With capital spending by oil and gas companies in a steep decline, "the industry has virtually no appetite for Alaska drilling," Pavel Molchanov, senior energy analyst for the investment firm Raymond James, told the Post.

  • Some of the nation's largest banks — including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs — have also said they will no longer finance Arctic oil and gas developments.
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