A new economic report commissioned by the Alaska Wilderness League lays out the case against oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The report’s executive summary states:
“… this report concludes that there simply is not enough oil projected to be under the Refuge’s coastal plain to appreciably increase U.S. energy security, and the legitimacy of this policy goal is further undercut by the export of domestically-produced oil to the world market. For the same reason, oil from the Arctic Refuge, or from the United States in its entirety, cannot meaningfully advance the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” goal. At the same time, the U.S. has made great strides toward enhancing U.S. energy security through, among other things, the progressive Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) increases enshrined in current law. In sum, pursuing better fuel efficiency by simply maintaining the current 2017-2025 CAFE standards would reduce domestic oil consumption by roughly six times the amount of oil projected to be within the Arctic Refuge. Such decreases in oil demand also represent a permanent solution, whereas oil production in the Arctic Refuge would only temporarily and marginally address oil dependence.
“In addition, revenue targets from bonus bids in the presidential and congressional budgets are inconsistent with recent lease sale bids in the likely Arctic Refuge lease sale scenario. Oil companies would have to bid an average of $2400 per acre for each of the roughly 1.5 million acres on the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge to meet the presidential budget, and over $1300 per acre to meet congressional targets. Two main issues with this scenario are that 1) it is highly unlikely that oil companies will lease every acre, and 2) even if they did, recent bidding activity has resulted in average lease values of $194 per acre, more than ten times lower than the $2400 per acre level needed to meet the current budget.”
Read the full report here.