By BECKY BOHRER Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it has issued leases covering nearly 685 square miles in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The move, announced on the last full day of President Donald Trump’s term, was denounced by critics. President-elect Joe Biden has expressed opposition to drilling in the refuge. The first-ever oil and gas lease sale held for the refuge’s coastal plain on Jan. 6 yielded bids on 11 tracts. The Bureau of Land Management says it has signed and issued leases on nine of the tracts, including seven of those awarded to an Alaska state corporation and one each to two other companies.