As election officials in Georgia tallied votes to determine the control of the Senate and the U.S. Capitol was rocked by violent protests Wednesday, the Trump administration quickly and quietly made good on its promise to sell oil leases in one of the nation’s last truly wild places.
The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been fought over for 40 years, as Republicans have sought to bring oil drilling to the home of polar bears and caribou, on land held sacred by the native Gwich’in people.
In the end, the lease sale took just nine minutes.
A total of $14.4 million in bids came in—less than 1 percent of the revenue promised by the Trump administration when it rolled back protections for the coastal plain in 2017. In the face of a flat-lining oil market, pledges from major banks to stop financing Arctic drilling and an incoming Biden administration, not a single major oil company made a bid.
Read more at Inside Climate News.