Alaska oil and gas lease sale nets $1.5 million

A highly criticized oil and gas lease sale in Alaska netted just over $1.5 million in revenue as of Wednesday.

The lease of 174,000 acres of federal land generated through a total of 16 bids generated over a million dollars more this year than last year’s offering in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska.

Fossil fuel giants ConocoPhillips Emerald House and Nordaq Energy were the three companies to make bids on the 16 tracts of land.

The sale went on as planned Wednesday despite attempts earlier in the week by environmentalists to stop the auctioning. A federal judge in Alaska on Monday dismissed two lawsuits brought by environmentalist groups that argued the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) did not adequately conduct an environmental review before it held prior oil lease sales in 2016 and 2017, Alaska Public Media reported.

One of the suits additionally argued that the government failed to consider how oil production stemming from the 23-million acre reserve could negatively impact climate change.

Alaska’s sale is one of many state leases that went on the auction block this week including New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio and Mississippi.   

The sales come a month after the U.S. Geologic Survey released a report that found that a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. came from public land. Environmentalists are arguing that the federal government must consider the climate impacts of oil and gas production when opening up land for drilling.

But the Trump administration has signaled its support for continued fossil fuel exploration in the country.

“The United States stands to be the largest oil and gas producer in the world. That was not possible a few years ago. It’s the first time in six years we are exporting liquid natural gas. Environmentally it is better to produce energy in this country under reasonable regulation than watch it get produced overseas with none,” Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden launches blitz for jobs plan with 'thank you, Georgia' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court sets in motion EPA ban on pesticide linked to developmental issues | Trump Interior Secretary Zinke files to run for Congress, again | Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill Trump Interior Secretary Zinke files to run for Congress, again MORE, who oversees BLM, told reporters at an event Tuesday.

“I’m proud of the fact that we are the number one oil and gas producer in the country, and I’m glad of the fact were going to get better. Because when America prospers the world gets safer.”