1980 David Koch as VP Candidate Urges Opening of Public Lands in Alaska for Oil and Gas Drilling

In this 1980 report from the Anchorage Times, David Koch addressed the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Alaska and described what the paper called the “Alaska land situation” an example “excessive government regulation.”

It provided this account of the speech: “Rather than seek continued and expanded withdrawals of public land here, he said, the nation — in its own self-interest should be actively promoting development of natural resources in Alaska and assisting in placing more land in private ownership.”

The excerpt about David Koch’s speech promoting leasing was from the first edition of the Clark for President campaign’s newsletter to party supporters, which was called “The Insider” and which can be read in full below.

By 1983, Koch Industries had a 1.5% stake in major new drilling project on Alaska’s Northern Slope, in the Beaufort Sea off the coast, west of the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). That was the first well “to be drilled on 1.8 million acres of tracts in the Beaufort Sea that were auctioned by the Interior Department in October” 1982, according to the New York Times, which noted that that well did not locate oil. That was just first of Koch Industries known industrial activities in Alaska, after David Koch’s speech in his quest for public office.

After Ronald Reagan won the White House, his Interior Secretary, James Watt, opened up
an additional 100,000,000 acres of Federal lands, mostly in Alaska and the Rocky Mountain states, for leasing” for oil and gas companies through a controversial new lottery system.

As Ted Barry, who was with ABC News, reported in his story and book, “The Great Onshore Oil Lottery,” Koch Industries had been under investigation for bid-rigging to secure leases from federal lands in the lower 48, within two years of David Koch’s run for VP:

After months of investigation, John Deans and his team of B.L.M. agents, working with the United States Attorney’s office in Denver, obtained convictions against 11 oil companies, oil-company officials and private oil brokers in connection with manipulation and fraud in the lottery. The major convictions were against Eason Oil, a subsidiary of I.T.T., Koch Industries of Wichita, Kan., and Chorney Oil of Denver, but the man who obtained the guilty pleas, former Assistant United States Attorney Rod W. Snow, says that the fraudulent activities were ”industry wide.” Snow says one of the Koch officials who pleaded guilty told him that his company had to hire fronts in order to remain competitive.

Tom Connelly, an independent oil man from Denver, explained his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge this way: ”That $1,000 fine was the best investment of my life. It was the price of doing business. The B.L.M. and the U.S. Attorney had me tied up for nine months. … What do I care about two leases? I own the mineral rights to 750,000 acres of Federal land.”

(emphasis added)