August 15, 2000 --- Vol. 6, No. 37August 2000

Date set for Beaufort Sea, North Slope areawide sales

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas said Aug. 15 that the state's North Slope and Beaufort Sea areawide oil and gas lease sales will be held Nov. 15 at the Wilda Marston Theatre at the Loussac Public Library in Anchorage at 8:30 a.m.

For the Beaufort Sea areawide sale, bidding will be a cash bonus with a minimum bid of $10 per acre on all tracts. Royalty rates vary, with some tracts having a 16 2/3 percent royalty rate and a lease term of seven year and other tracts having a 12.5 percent royalty rate and a lease term of 10 years.

For the North Slope areawide sale, bidding will also be on a cash bonus basis, with a minimum bid of $5 per acre on all tracts and all tracts having a lease term of seven years. As in the Beaufort Sea sale, some tracts in the North Slope sale have a royalty rate of 16 2/3 percent and others have a 12.5 percent royalty rate.

More information is available at:

Supreme Court upholds phased review in sale 85A decision

The Alaska Supreme Court has decided in favor of the state in a challenge to state oil and gas lease sale 85A Cook Inlet exempt, the first case to reach the court after the Legislature amended state statute in 1994 to allow the Alaska Department of Natural Resources do phased reviews of multiphase developments.

Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and others challenged both the Alaska Department of Natural Resources' phasing of its review and the substantive basis for decisions made by DNR.

The supreme court, in a decision written by Justice Walter Carpenti, found entirely in the state's favor.

"Because we find that Kachemak Bay's challenge fails in all respects," the court said in a decision issued Aug. 11, "we affirm the decision of the superior court."

The supreme court concluded the Department of Natural Resources "has not impermissibly phased its review of the proposed lease sale" because the Legislature amended state law in 1994 to allow for phased decisions. The court also found "there is a reasonable basis for both DNR's best interests finding and conclusive consistency determination," and affirmed the agency's actions.

The court also said each party is to bear its own costs and attorney's fees in the supreme court in this matter.

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