Biden Administration takes back ANWR

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The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is back on ice. The Department of the Interior today suspended all activities related to the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in ANWR, pending completion of a comprehensive analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act, which could take years.

There is a bit of theater involved: The Biden Administration last week decided to defend the BLM decision to allow the Willow Project to go forward in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska. That project is subject to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, but with Biden’s Justice Department signaling it will defend the project, it appears to be going forward.

But to appease environmentalists angry about the Willow decision, ANWR is going to be off limits, in spite of the fact that Congress determined lease sales could go ahead and the leases were sold Jan. 6.

There was so much uncertainty around the leases, however, that few companies wanted to risk it in January. Most of the leases are actually owned by AIDEA, an Alaska-owned agency, and a couple of small companies.

Read: BLM issues leases, mostly to State of Alaska

None of the major exploration companies bid on the lease sales because they knew the Biden Administration would spike what was authorized by Congress, which makes today’s decision less dramatic. No seismic studies have been authorized, although Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation had applied for one and intended to move forward. No exploration has commenced.

Under the Trump administration, BLM established and began administering an oil and gas program in the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge.

On Day One, less than two weeks after the leases were sold, President Biden issued Executive Order 13990, directing the Interior Department to review oil and gas activity in the Arctic Refuge.

Secretarial Order 3401 directs the Department of Interior to initiate a comprehensive environmental analysis to review the potential impacts and to address “legal deficiencies” in the leasing program’s environmental review.

The Alaska Oil and Gas Association issued an immediate response:

“AOGA is disappointed in the administration’s decision to suspend all oil and gas leases in the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,” said Patrick Bergt, AOGA Regulatory and Legal Affairs Manager. “Leasing and development of the Coastal Plain has been a priority for the State of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation, and countless other stakeholders since 1987 when the Department of Interior first recommended that action be taken. The development of Alaska’s oil and gas resources has produced enormous economic, social, and scientific benefits, while simultaneously minimizing environmental impacts and protecting all Alaska’s natural resources. Coastal Plain oil would add volume to theTrans Alaska Pipeline System for the benefit of all Alaskans and the nation’s energy security. No one is better equipped to drill safely in Alaska’s Arctic than Alaskans. We hope the Biden Administration will recognize this fact and allow Alaska to chart its own course.”

Kelly Tshibaka, a candidate for U.S. Senate, also reacted to the announcement:

“Following six decades of fighting for access to ANWR, this is disastrous news for Alaska workers, our economy, our national security and the environment. It is yet another case of the federal government treating Alaska like a national park for the rest of the country while trampling our state sovereignty,” Tshibaka said.

“This is exactly what we expected from Joe Biden and his band of environmental extremists, but it should be especially distressing to Alaskans that Sen. Lisa Murkowski had a hand in this. She fought President Trump every step of the way, opposing his election in 2016 and his re-election in 2020, even though his policies were very beneficial to Alaska—including opening ANWR for ‘cleaner and greener’ oil exploration. She even cast the deciding vote in committee to advance Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior Secretary without publicly asking questions about future oil and gas leases. That vote cost Alaska billions. What exactly did Murkowski expect would happen?” Tshibaka said.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Energy independence must be not in the best interest of the corrupt leftist Democrat party and the fraudulent administration.

  2. Where exactly is the GOP? They are MIA as usual. The greatest irony is that all the actions of the Biden hologram, deemed as a presidential administration, whose handlers make the decisions on policy, could not possibly do more to appease the Russian Federation and CCP controlled mainland China. It is almost as though massive bribes, money laundering schemes and kick backs through foreign aid packages were finding its’ way into offshore bank accounts for these handlers and a percentage to the “big guy” himself. Environmental groups have been domestic front organizations representing foreign interests for decades. As with watermelons, scratch the green surface and the heart is socialist red.

  3. American Patriots take note: Either we take this country back or we will no longer have a country. This administration places America and Americans LAST on every policy. Obiden is buying oil from Iran while stopping all developments in Alaska save for 1. Open borders and crippling our energy independence is TREASON.

  4. Who wants to bet a ‘win’ comes around the corner for Young and/or Murkowski getting Biden to reverse this dictum?

  5. ANDY AK, ICYMI–
    EXXON shareholders just booted two members of its Board of Directors and replaced them with climate change advocates. Industry is leading in Climate Change now, thanks to the other guy slamming the brakes on government environmental protection efforts. Biden’s just following.

    So, Save the Year of 2024: it’s when General Motors converts their entire automotive production to electric vehicles and the historic phaseout of the internal combustion engine begins.

  6. Once again this renegade regime ignores duly passed law by the legislative branch. Impeachable? Why not? When the change in congress comes play the progressive game. Throw Slow Joe and Spread Eagle in the hoosegow.

  7. And yet the hypocrites bow and grovel to China, one of the worst mass polluters in the world. Sure, just down industry and development in the US so we have to purchase everything from countries that are actually polluting and want to help Puppet Biden and his team of puppeteers destroy us. This has nothing to do with ‘caring’ for the environment and everything to do with a globalist elitist agenda and Marxist control.

  8. I think the oil companies should do a 60 day refinery shutdown in January. Heck with it. To easy for to long in this country. Going to take blood shed and death on a large scale to correct this.

  9. “…in spit of Congress…” Nice freudian typo Suzanne. “Legal deficiencies” is a buzzword for boot-licking the eco-lefties. The BLM is good at carefully crafted NEPA determinations that skew left – what happened to the one they’ve already done? This whole theft of the Alaska economy and ANILCA is bogus commie politics. What happened to the Statehood Compact? Don’t worry about GM putting a dent in demand – oil demand will stay at current levels for a long long time. Dictator Obiden’s handlers need to take a very cold shower.

    • Rich- my office is on the boardwalk in Skagway this weekend. There will be typos…more than usual!

  10. Commie dictator O’Biden executing his planned goal to destroy the USA and usher in Chinese, Russian and Iranian dominance.

  11. Lisa voted for China Joe and then acts surprised when he issues orders that harm Alaska and America?
    .
    She is either grossly disingenuous or intellectually stunted.
    .
    China Hoe said this was his plan. Hurting Alaska is just a democrat bonus.
    .
    BTW, biden didn’t win.

  12. Sophie: The majority of EXXON shares are held by institutions and the super rich. There has to be a consortium of some sort, to have enough shares to forcibly install two board members. I don’t know what it is, but there has to be a lot more to it than your initial assumption. Needs looking at in depth.

  13. The two new directors on Exxon’s board were not “forcibly installed”. They were voted onto the board by shareholders. Fortunately the other two vying for seats were defeated.

    The effort is being run by a San Francisco former hedge fund manager. He has created the group Engine #1 and purchased only 0.02% of Exxon’s outstanding shares. A tiny amount. Nevertheless Engine #1 managed to get California’s pension funds and Blackrock as well as Vanguard to vote their shares for the two activists that were elected to the board.

    We’ll see how long they last

  14. Murkowski made a political career out of opening ANWR &then when Trump actually did it she dumped all over him!

  15. Ken D: As I said, (just off the top of my head) institutions and super rich. .Only .02 % of 4.272 billion shares, outstanding common stock, at $61 is around 60 million dollars. That’s a pretty qualified “only”. Combined with the proxies of major institutions to have the votes.

    “It’s a watershed event when an activist investor takes three seats (out of 12 seats) on the board of such a major company, and with the energy transition front and center in the bid to replace several board members, it seems inevitable that Exxon will be rethinking its climate strategy,”

    BP gave us the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and EXXON the Valdez disaster. They need to be rethinking more than just climate strategy. There needs to be a major paradigm shift.

  16. josephdj, ironic that you mention BP and Exxon as examples. I worked for both of these companies and it would be a difficult differentiation which tried to be more ‘woke’ in the race to the bottom (before that term came into use). Also with each, in my experience, came the façade of environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility, with behind the scenes ruthless business practices where pennies trumped any morality (and lives were lost). Had I played the game I could enjoy wealthy retirement by now, but it was not worth my soul.

  17. Although Biden and Murkowski may have good intentions, they are slowing and destroying Alaska’s economy. And for what measurable practical reason? Murkowsi needs to now go!
    More pollution occurs when China, India and Russia and the Middle East do what they do and pump up operations to make up lucrative gaps of what our State is being restricted to by beaurocrats outside of Alaska

  18. “She even cast the deciding vote in committee to advance Deb Haaland’s nomination as Interior Secretary without publicly asking questions about future oil and gas leases.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Dan Sullivan vote her in as well? I’m starting to see Dan Sullivan clearer and believe he isn’t any better than Murkowski. He is the consummate politician and when he came out backing Murkowski for re-election in combination with the fact he is the Chairman of the IRI (International Republican Institute).

    • International Republican Institute (IRI), “Advancing democracy worldwide.” “IRI consults with politicians on how to respond to constituents swiftly and effectively, and create sustainable solutions to pressing issues. We train citizens in the democratic system so they can proactively get involved in their government.”

    The IRI’s board chair for 25 years, Arizona Senator John McCain (RINO) stepped down in 2018. The new board chair is Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan.

    There are implications that the IRI, which has an interesting board of directors including Senator Romney (RINO), Lt. Col. McMasters (fired by Trump), Linsey Graham (RINO), Marco Rubio (RINO) and others, was working with U.N. Observers during our 2018 & 2020 elections. You heard that right, what the hell is the U.N. doing meddling in our elections?

  19. Pretty sure the Biden Administration can be sued here. There was already a study done and approved and the leases were already granted. The companies along with the State of Alaska should sue Beijing Biden!

  20. Hey Matt F. Good luck with that. I’m sure ANWR will be preserved much better covered with tens of thousands of acres of solar panels and wind turbines. Better figure out how to make them out of air and sunshine too, since there won’t be any more plastic made without oil. Might as well just scrap all the electric cars right now, unless you want to drive on dirt and mud, since we won’t be able to build new roads or repair the old ones either because asphalt is made of oil. I guess if you figure out how to teleport matter, that would work. How much R&D money will that take? Beam me up, Scotty!

  21. I once asked a friend what he wanted for ANWAR coastal plain, and the response was more animals, and this was my observation and action for mare critters to be there and be fat for good measure. this would be one sure way to aid animal numbers. I am a cub pilot of many hours of observation and would promote the following even it had too function for me to eat! With a large track machine pulling a disk, row crop the entire area that is flat enough. The new vegetation will attract and support all sorts of animals. And yes I know what I am talking about.

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