Biden administration shuts down energy leases without consulting Alaskans, lawmakers allege

The move not only hurts Alaska's economy, but it could violate federal law, state’s congressional delegation says.
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Senator Dan Sullivan
Senator Dan Sullivan
U.S. Government

The Biden administration issued a "no action" order on a plan that could have led to the leasing of millions of acres of land in Alaska for energy development without consulting Alaska residents, the state's congressional delegation said in a news release.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the order that affects the National Petroleum Reserves on Monday.

"This is a petroleum reserve, specifically designated for energy development, located within a state that already has tens of millions of acres of parks, refuges, and federal wilderness," U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a joint news release with fellow Alaska Republicans U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and U.S. Rep. Don Young.

“The current management plan was carefully crafted to protect the reserve’s most sensitive areas and includes numerous safeguards for responsible development. Sweeping restrictions like this – which are being imposed even as the Biden administration implores OPEC+ to produce more oil – demonstrate everything that is wrong with its energy policies.”

The move not only hurts Alaska's economy, but it could violate federal law, Sullivan said.

"Reverting back to the 2013 management plan is not only arbitrary and contrary to good science, it will be harmful to the very people and issues the Biden administration purports to care most about – indigenous communities and racial and environmental equity," Sullivan said. "Instead, the Biden White House is taking its orders from radical extreme environmental groups who care nothing about Alaskans."

Young called the move "insulting" and "foolish."

"Gas prices around the nation are soaring," Johnson said. "Why then would President Biden and the BLM want to kneecap our domestic production, thereby emboldening our oil-producing adversaries overseas?"

Gov. Mike Dunleavy called it another move that will hurt Alaska Natives.

"The U.S. Department of Interior proposes to lock-down Alaska, take away local opportunities, resources, and other benefits that the National Petroleum Reserve is intended for," Dunleavy said in a news release. "This is another sign of the federal government turning its back on Alaska and hampering domestic energy production. The U.S. Department of Interior is putting the nation in a situation where we have to rely on foreign oil countries at a time for growing prices and concern for American consumers."