FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is massive.
19.6 million acres to be exact.
A portion of it could soon be open to oil and gas drilling.
Late last week, registration started on a 60 day review to sell oil and gas leases in the remote refuge.
While ANWR covers more than 19 million acres - only about 400,000 acres located along the coastal plain could be leased.
Throughout the 60 day environmental review, public scoping meetings will be held - including one here in Fairbanks.
While Environmentalists call the potential lease sales 'shameful', saying ANWR is one of the most pristine areas in the United States, Kara Moriarty with the Alaska oil and gas association is happy to see drilling plans moving forward.
"So from our perspective," began Kara Moriarty, President and CEO of Alaska; "it is a positive step in a very long process that will need to take place if we are ever to see leasing and or future production from the 10-02 area."
The administration plan calls for at least two major lease sales of ANWR'S coastal plain over the next decade.
Surface development would be limited to 2,000 acres.