Although drilling and exploring in the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge still seems like a far-off prospect, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, which owns many of the leases that were sold by the federal government last year, is going ahead with seismic studies, with the thought that someday it may be able to sell those leases.
There were some members of the public who were less than pleased. Rick Steiner, a consultant with Oasis Earth Environmental Sustainability and long a foe of oil, said the leases are not valid because AIDEA isn’t the kind of agency mentioned as appropriate to bid on the leases. He said only publicly traded agencies and municipalities were mentioned in the ANWR legislation, not a public-private corporation like AIDEA. He was wrong, of course, many types of corporations or agencies that have public oversight may participate.
But Rick Whitbeck, of Power the Future, gave an epic statement during his public testimony, saying that oil and gas will be with us for a long time.
“To my eco-extremist friends on the line, let me be clear,” Whitbeck said. “AIDEA’s leases are binding, regardless of how you feel. Feelings don’t override facts. Feelings shouldn’t change good policy, nor should feelings affect what AIDEA’s board does today.”
He then asked the board to pass the resolution, numbered G21-18, and “continue to fight for Alaska’s jobs and energy future, and continue to make prudent decisions in the best interests of our state. “
Before he was done, he reminded the Left that he knew they were listening on the line:
“And to my friends who are members of the radical environmental movement in this state, oil and gas isn’t going away anytime soon. And when you receive your next Permanent Fund Dividend, make sure to thank an energy worker. They’re bound to tell you, You’re Fracking Welcome!! Have a great day, everyone.”
The resolution passed unanimously. AIDEA will spend $1.5 million on seismic studies.