The Trump administration on Monday kicked off its plan to auction off drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as part of a final effort to sell leases for the 1.56 million-acre coastal plain before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. The Federal Register on Monday posted a “call for nominations” from the Bureau of Land Management regarding the sale of the refuge near the Arctic Ocean. The call for nominations means oil companies can specify which tracks of land they would be interested in potentially drilling for oil and gas. Any potential deals would have to be made by Jan. 20, or the day of Biden’s inauguration, since the president-elect is vehemently opposed to drilling in the refuge. In the past, Biden has said drilling there would be a “big disaster.” According to The New York Times, however, Biden’s efforts could be complicated if the Trump administration sells drilling rights within the next few months, because formally issued oil and gas leases on federal land are hard to revoke.
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