U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan led in the introduction of Alaska’s Right to Produce Act of 2023, legislation to reverse the Biden Administration’s decision to stop oil and gas development on 13 million acres within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and to reinstate lawfully awarded leases that the Department of Interior cancelled within the non-wilderness Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Senate Bill 3289, which has been referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has Sen. Lisa Murkowski as a sponsor. Sen. Joe Manchin, an ally of Murkowski, is the chair of the committee, although he does not plan to serve after January 2025, when his current term ends. Manchin, a Democrat, has been pro-Alaska.
Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican from Minnesota, led in the introduction of a companion bill in the U.S. House, which is supported by Rep. Mary Peltola of Alaska, Rep. August Pfluger of Texas, and Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.
The legislation addresses two of the most onerous of the 56 anti-Alaska actions taken by the Biden Administration that have been in direct violation of Alaska-specific federal laws, Sullivan and Murkowski said in a press release, “The Biden DOI’s decisions lack scientific backing or consultation with Alaska Native stakeholders who live in the region, and come at a critical geopolitical moment when energy security is more necessary than ever.
“Just last week, I hosted leaders of the Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, the North Slope Borough, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation here in D.C. to elevate their voices and bring attention to their communities’ strong opposition to the Biden administration’s illegal cancellation of lawfully-issued leases in ANWR, and the NPR-A rule that will lock up their lands,” Sen. Sullivan said.
“There is palpable anger and frustration among Alaskans about the Biden administration’s unrelenting assault on our economy and our ability to lawfully access our lands. This is a grave injustice to the people who actually live on the North Slope. They have been disregarded entirely during this process and denied consultation as the Biden administration locks up their lands. Alaska has a right to produce our own energy for the sake of quality economic opportunities and good-paying jobs, and for the energy security of the entire nation.” “Alaskans are deeply frustrated with the Biden administration’s repeated pushback of responsible resource production in our state,” said Murkowski. “There is no better example than what we see happened on the North Slope now—illegally canceling valid leases in ANWR and pushing to foreclose future development in our petroleum reserve—while wholly neglecting the voices of the Alaska Natives who actually live there, all while loosening restrictions on the likes of Iran and Venezuela. Alaskans must be able to produce our vast resources for the good of the nation and our allies, and I’m pleased to be able to join Senator Sullivan and Congresswoman Peltola in this effort.”
As for Peltola, like Murkowski, she voiced frustration. She supports National Petroleum Reserve oil and gas development, but she was silent when it came to the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which was set aside by law for oil and gas development.
“I am deeply frustrated by the Administration’s recent actions restricting energy development on Alaska’s North Slope, including the National Petroleum Reserve. These actions are strongly opposed by the Inupiat North Slope communities of the region. I will continue to advocate for them and for 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 get us there. This bill is an important step in protecting Alaska’s leasing ability, including limiting the ability of courts to continuously reset the process. I will continue to advocate for permitting reform to make sure we have predictable timelines and a stable jurisdiction for developing our resources.”