The Trump administration last November started a leasing process for oil and gas drilling sites off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something environmental groups viewed as a potential last-minute giveaway to the energy industry before the Biden administration took over.
The Interior Department said in a statement on Tuesday that under the Trump administration, the Bureau of Land Management “held a lease sale on January 6, 2021, and subsequently issued 10-year leases on nine tracts covering more than 430,000 acres.”
The 19.3-million-acre ANWR is partly comprised of nearly 1.6 million acres of coastal plains, which is both a sensitive environmental area and “highly prospective for oil and gas resources,” according to the bureau.
The agency has said it is required by the 2017 federal tax law to conduct two leases in the ANWR coastal plain area by 2024.
This story has been updated with additional details.