Posted by on January 11, 2022 11:07 am
Categories: News Washington Examiner

Biden administration plans restrictions on oil and gas leasing in Alaska

FILE–In this undated file photo, drilling operations at the Doyon Rig 19 at the Conoco-Phillips Carbon location in the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska, are shown. Five environmental groups sued the federal government Friday, claiming the Interior Department conducted a petroleum lease sale in northern Alaska without proper environmental review. (AP Photo/Judy Patrick, File) Judy PatrickK/AP

Biden administration plans restrictions on oil and gas leasing in Alaska

Jeremy Beaman January 11, 10:34 AMJanuary 11, 10:34 AM

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management intends to block leasing on a large share of oil- and gas-rich federal lands in Alaska, a move that accords with the Biden administration’s strategy of scaling back fossil fuel production in an attempt to mitigate climate change.

In a Monday court filing, the BLM said it would return management of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to a plan established during President Barack Obama’s tenure, leaving some 52% (or 11.8 million acres) of the reserve open to oil and gas leasing.

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Under former President Donald Trump, the BLM sought to expand to 18.6 million acres, or 82% of the reserve, the amount of the reserve’s lands available for oil and gas leasing. Environmental groups subsequently sued.

BLM said in a press release the decision “reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s priority of reviewing existing oil and gas programs to ensure balance on America’s public lands and waters to benefit current and future generations.”

The Interior Department released a review of the federal oil and gas leasing program in November. Interior found that taxpayers aren’t receiving a fair return on leases, whose minimum royalty of 12.5% was set a century ago, and urged a “modernization” of the leasing program.

The report, and the Biden administration’s moving forward with a major offshore drilling lease auction in November, have prompted criticism from environmental groups and some Democratic lawmakers who say the administration isn’t doing enough to restrict fossil fuel production.

“This morning was met with extreme disappointment, depleted hope, and shattered trust. The Biden administration has opted to move forward with relinquishing all remaining parcels of the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas interests,” Friends of the Earth Legal Director Hallie Templeton, whose group led a letter from more than 250 organizations demanding Biden to cancel the November Gulf of Mexico lease auction, said in response to the sale.

Meanwhile, Republicans have maintained that Biden’s strategy has set the oil and gas industry back, along with states that benefit from its economic activities, and added to the high energy prices consumers are facing.


“This is another sign of the federal government turning its back on Alaska and hampering domestic energy production,” Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office said Monday. “The U.S. Department of Interior is putting the nation in a situation where we have to rely on foreign oil … at a time for growing prices and concern for American consumers.”

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Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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