Only colder and darker?



A dream decades in the making fizzled Tuesday as President Joe Biden, in one of his first acts as president, temporarily blocked oil and gas exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska.

Biden’s moratorium, citing “alleged legal deficiencies,” comes on the heels of the first lease sale for refuge tracts earlier this month, a long-anticipated sale which did not draw as much interest as expected. The 10-year leases, sold as required by a 2017 law, cover about 440,000 acres on nine tracts in ANWR’s 1.5 million-acre coastal plain.

In a state that largely depends on its resources to make ends meet, Biden’s action – while unsurprising – is very bad news for Alaska. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the coastal plain could produce as much as 16 billion barrels of oil and, long-term, be an economic mainstay for our struggling state.

The coastal plain is designated the “1002 Area,” after the section in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 that sets it aside for oil and gas exploration – with congressional approval.

At the same time, the area was set aside for oil exploration and development, Congress, in keeping with a wilderness preservation policy in place since the 1950s, classified 8 million acres as wilderness and another 9.5 million as wildlife refuge.

The U.S. Department of Interior recommended 1002 Area development in 1987; Congress approved in 1995; and, then-President Bill Clinton killed the effort. Since then, nothing until the long-awaited Trump lease sales.

As one might expect, Alaska’s congressional delegation is unhappy with Biden’s action putting the coastal plain of the South Carolina-sized refuge out of bounds.

“At a time when the United States, and especially Alaska, is struggling to deal with the impacts of #COVID19, I am astounded to see that the Biden administration’s ‘day one’ priority puts our economy, jobs, and nation’s security at risk,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski tweeted.

Americans did not give Biden “a mandate to kill good-paying jobs and curry favor with coastal elites,” Sen. Dan Sullivan said in a statement.

“It’s not surprising, though no less disappointing, that President Biden is continuing Obama-era attacks against Alaska,” Congressman Don Young said in a Facebook post. “By placing a moratorium on energy development in ANWR, the President has surrendered to his party’s environmental extremists.”

And, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy: “Make no mistake about it, President Biden appears to be making good on his promise to turn Alaska into a large national park.”

If Biden’s actions become permanent, and he ran for office promising to take ANWR permanently off the table, Alaska loses an economic building block. It loses future revenue. It loses more jobs. It loses a piece of its future.

Maybe Biden actually is moving to make Alaska into a “large national park” as Dunleavy suggests.

If that comes to pass, if more and more of the state’s resources are put off-limits, Alaska, as we have said before, will end up a lot like Appalachia, only colder and darker.

Read the Anchorage Daily Planet at this link.


  1. We tried to tell you, Lisa, but you’re too smart for us dumb hicks. Resign now!!! The people of the 907 despise you!!!

    • She knows exactly what she’s doing. She’s in bed with Biden. She’s the appointed mole. She can’t come completely out of the closet because they still want to get her re-elected.

  2. Murkowski and Young are about stupid and blind to see this was not going to happen. Their ignorance is outstanding.

  3. Too bad if all those Biden loving public union jobs might finally suffer like the rest of us. And how can Richard Trumka possibly support Biden? Have union members lost their minds to keep him in power?

  4. Above comments miss the point, but can’t resist slamming their favorite whipping posts… They’re not stupid, foresaw it coming and waited until it happened before they expressed their outrage.
    Murk & Young & Sullivan can comment, but have no say in executive orders unless they can get congress to overturn them. Biden, on the other hand, I don’t believe has the power to overturn a congressional law passed and signed by his predecessor – by executive order. He is not dictator.
    Sue the POTUS, and sue the feds for Statehood Act violations – I think that is all we can do besides pray.

      • I don’t know how much room we have to sue under the Statehood Act. Some of Gov. Hickel’s suits against the US relied on the Statehood Act and of course the Department of Law did their usual act of dragging everything into the election and when Knowles won he had Bothello settle them all or dismiss them, many were dismissed with prejudice so the State can’t bring the issue again. None of them may touch these issues but it is a consideration; Tony Knowles and Bruce Bothello sold or gave away a lot of Alaska’s State sovereignty.

  5. We had a president that supported Alaska and energy development and all our reps in Washington took snipes at him and never stood up for him. Now the country suffers. All three should be ashamed, and Lisa is the worst. All three should resign. I will never vote for any of you again, and I never voted for Lisa

    • Dan Sullivan didn’t take “snipes” at DJT, and Don only wanted him to be civil. Do you really think Alyce Galvin is worthy of being supported? Lisa is without excuse on this one.

  6. If you believe that things must get a lot worse before they get better, this news is just excellent. And the local socialists must be thrilled.

  7. Do what the Democrats did the last 4 years. Find a friendly judge and get a restraining order.

    But most Republicans aren’t smart enough to do it, or have the courage to try.

  8. This is a ridiculous act by President Biden. I wonder if there was any consideration given to the lack of interest in bidding on the leases. Each of them got exactly 1 bid, and the State was the bid winner for most of the tracts. Why the lack of interest. That might be a story for an investigative journalist.

    • You didn’t need a crystal ball to see this coming with the election of a communist, excuse me, government. People in the oil industry don’t survive by being stupid. The State bought them up so attacks on the leases will be attacks on the State, which may get us around the Ninth Soviet and directly to the DC Circuit or the USSC on some issues.

      If we get in such a fight Law cannot be trusted; they’ll sandbag the case so that it is trade goods in the ’22 gubernatorial election, and if a communist, excuse me, Democrat becomes Governor, a State suit to develop the leases will get dropped like a hot rock.

  9. Uh, yeah, they hate you. Get used to it. You send them to DC, they increase their net worth 100x, buy mansions there, put their kids in school there, and guess what? Alaska is about the furthest thing from their mind. This is their fiefdom, that they get reports on from time to time from the their sheriffs, and your job, good serf, is to work the fields, take what they give you, and shut the hell up.

    Why is this so hard to grasp and why has it taken so long for Alaskans to “get it”, I’ll never know…The Miller race in 2010 was a wake up call and yet for a decade more, most of the electorate stayed asleep. Now, it’s most likely too late to do anything about it. You think your vote matters, yet you accept a process which destroys the envelopes the ballots arrive in, and keeps the computers that tabulate the votes off limits to the citizenry. No transparency, means no accountability, means no authority. You’ve ceded it all to the bureaucracy and the political class, and guess what? They aren’t planning on giving it back.

  10. This could be a good thing if it accelerates the financial collapse of state government.
    Recall state and city officials used China flu hysteria to wreck productive Alaskans’ lives and businesses.
    Might be poetic justice if the favor is returned, if the moratorium triggers a 1980’s style exodus that wrecks the host-parasite relationship between rulers and ruled.

  11. Several things wrong with this assessment:
    1) Though the state still earns money off its natural resources, they are no longer the most significant nor most important. Earnings from the PF are now the single highest income for the state. Federal government money, mostly tied in with military bases is big. The state, basically makes no money from mining, and if you figure in the tax credits with which we have so lavishly bathed the oil companies, they play a more and more diminishing role in paying for our personal, tax free existence.
    2) ANWR leases have been let, but it will be years before anything will happen with them, and the more likely prospect is that nothing will happen with them, which means the $14 mil bad-AIDEA spent on buying leases is a $14mil waste of state money. And the only coastal elites up there are the Gwich’in, who can use the currently naturally occurring resources better than they could oil and gas.
    3) Alaska certainly doesn’t need more National Park territory, since we pretty much rule in that area. The so called “turning it into all national parks” meme is old and hackneyed and inapplicable in this state. Relying on ANWR leases to save the state denies the fact that we are not pumping oil through our antique pipeline because the demand is simply not there, the prices are low because the demand is not there, and if we think oil is going to be our savior and we refuse to diversify our economy because we insist on continuing to believe in the pipe dream, we will, indeed, be in for some cold, dark times.
    In truth, Alaska Daily Planet is not grounded on earth, and probably is cold and dark as well.

  12. Between the Keystone XL pipeline deal and the NPR drilling, Biden basically screwed 11 states out of tens of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars now, and into the future. There is ZERO upside to this idiocy, in any optic. The states need to take back their power and tell the feds to stuff their mandates.

  13. Making Alaska a federal park is the plan for the leftist liberals, both nationally and in state, they don’t care about the Alaskan people.

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