Thursday, 7 September 2023

‘War On Alaska’: Biden Admin Cancels Alaskan Oil And Gas Leases, Bans Drilling On Millions Of Acres

 The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it would be canceling oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve and move to ban drilling in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. 

The announcement from the Department of the Interior means that seven leases for drilling given during the Trump administration will be rescinded and that 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve will be off limits for drilling if the proposed rule is approved. The leases were held by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) and encompassed 365,775 acres. 

“Alaska is home to many of America’s most breathtaking natural wonders and culturally significant areas. As the climate crisis warms the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, we have a responsibility to protect this treasured region for all ages,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. 

The announcement was opposed by top Alaskan officials, including Governor Mike Dunleavy and Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan. 

“Today the Biden Administration announced that it is cancelling legally-issued oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge section designated for oil and gas development. The leases AIDEA holds in ANWR were properly acquired in a sale mandated by Congress,” Dunleavy posted on X. “It’s clear that President Biden needs a refresher on the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. Federal agencies don’t get to rewrite laws, and that is exactly what the Department of the Interior is trying to do here.”

The governor added that Alaska would turn to the courts to challenge the Biden administration’s moves to cut down on oil production. Sullivan said Biden’s actions endangered the energy security of the U.S.

“This war on Alaska is devastating for not only Alaska but also the energy security of the nation. This unlawful cancellation of leases brings us to 55 executive orders and actions specifically targeting Alaska since President Biden assumed office,” Sullivan said. 

Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland said that the decision was made to protect the environment.


“With climate change warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, we must do everything within our control to meet the highest standards of care to protect this fragile ecosystem,” Haaland said in a statement. “President Biden is delivering on the most ambitious climate and conservation agenda in history. The steps we are taking today further that commitment, based on the best available science and in recognition of the Indigenous Knowledge of the original stewards of this area, to safeguard our public lands for future generations.”

Despite the fact that Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline expansion and aggressively pushed green energy, climate activists are still angry at Biden after he allowed the Willow oil project in Alaska’s North Slope to go forward, which could end up yielding 180,000 gallons of oil per day. The decision to end the leases and block drilling comes as gas prices across the country remain high. 

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