the oil industry doesn’t even need the oil for now and it will be relatively expensive to get it on the refuge. I think they want to drill there less for economic reasons than to show their contempt for wildlife, for native Americans, for people who care about nature, they want to stick it to those groups to show their power and dominance. The oil industry love of making everything ugly was explored in the play “The Madwoman of Chaillot” as you had to be mad to resist them.
Of course Trump made no secret of his disdain for nature, and people voted for him anyway, including the people of Alaska. So maybe their trashed state is appropriate collective punishment