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Biden to cancel Alaska oil and gas leases issued under Trump

President Joe Biden’s Interior Department announced it would cancel oil and gas leases granted in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Biden said he would take steps to protect about 19.6 million acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for polar bears and caribou.

“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 precious region for all ages,” Biden said in a written statement.

Trump issued seven leases to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) just before Biden’s inauguration. The move is part of a broader strategy by which Biden has moved to roll back oil and gas exploration on public lands.

AIDEA said it would challenge the decision.

“This latest action by the Department of the Interior demonstrates an arbitrary disregard for federal law, based on election campaign rhetoric. Campaign promises are not enough to justify this agency action,” AIDEA said in a statement.

Republicans criticized Biden’s decision to develop oil and gas in Alaska.

“There is palpable anger and frustration among Alaskans over the Biden administration’s relentless attacks on our economy and our ability to legally access our lands,” Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said in a statement .

Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said in a written statement: “Not only will this cause our nation to continue to rely on dirty oil from foreign adversaries, but it will also maintain high pump prices that the American people cannot afford. not afford. »

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said in a statement:

Now the Biden administration, at a time when America and its allies need Alaska’s resources more than ever, has decided to go its own way by further locking down Alaska while refusing to consult with Alaska Natives who actually live on the North Slope. It’s bad enough breaking legal contracts and reneging on federal commitments. But it is even more unacceptable that the Biden administration is penalizing Alaska by allowing Iran to produce more oil and demanding the same from Venezuela. It’s not hard to predict what will happen when they allow the world’s worst actors to enrich themselves, while punishing Alaska. Fewer jobs at home, more imports for California, and higher prices for everyone. These decisions are illegal, reckless, defy common sense, and are the latest signs of inconsistent energy policy from President Biden.

Rep. Mary Peltola (R-AK) said:

I am deeply frustrated by the cancellation of these leases in ANWR. This administration has shown it is capable of listening to Alaskans with the approval of the Willow Project, and it is some of these same North Slope Inupiat communities who are most affected by this decision. I will continue to defend them and Alaska’s ability to explore and develop our natural resources, from the critical minerals we need for our clean energy transition to the domestic oil and gas we need to make it happen. achieve. We can only achieve this transition by listening to the people on the ground. Finally, we cannot continue to erase our progress with each administration. I will continue to advocate for permitting reform that includes predictable timelines from the federal government, which must be a reliable partner in leasing and developing our resources.

Randy Ruaro, Executive Director of AIDEA, said:

This latest action by the Department of the Interior demonstrates an arbitrary disregard for federal law, based on election campaign rhetoric. Campaign promises are not enough to justify this action by the agency. According to the law, Interior must present real facts and reasons that support this reversal of position. Interior’s action leaves AIDEA with a choice: We must go to court to protect our rights in ANWR leases.

“This time, we will ask the court to allow us to conduct discovery investigations that could include deposition of Biden’s messenger, Secretary Haaland and possibly other administration officials involved so that the true motivations are made public” , added Ruaro.

Sean Moran is a politics reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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