Once again the federal government has undermined a state — Alaska.
The Biden Administration suspended oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, specifically the 1002 Area, to start the week.
This after the leases had been authorized by Congress and the Trump administration. But, the suspension isn’t surprising. The administration has been hell bent on reversing much economic opportunity since its first day in office.
This action is contrary to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017, which directs establishment of an oil and gas program for the North Slope area of ANWR.
It should take an act of Congress to reverse its decision, not the whim of a president or those who attempt to direct a Biden agenda.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has called the administration’s move an “egregious federal overreach” and promises to undo it.
“Alaska does responsible oil and gas development in the Arctic under stricter environmental standards than anywhere else in the world,” Dunleavy notes. “Yet the federal government is … trying to stop our ability to produce oil and gas.
“Each action they take demonstrates a failure to comprehend the worldwide demand for oil and gas.
“If Alaska continues to be denied its constitutional right to safely develop resources, countries with much lower environmental standards will gladly fill that void with significant environmental impacts.”
His displeasure is matched by Alaska’s congressional delegation and many Alaskans who like the idea of economic self-sufficiency for Alaska.
The ANWR 1002 lease sale on Jan. 6 attracted nearly $15 million in bids, with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority successfully bidding on nine tracts. It signed seven leases with the Bureau of Land Management for the rights to explore oil and gas reserves on more than 365,000 acres.
President Biden halted ANWR oil and gas activities on Jan. 20 by executive order, one order among many designed to thwart development.
Members of Congress should be as wary as Alaska is of this federal overreach. If Alaska can be deceived, it can happen to any state. And, it has.
Congress might not appear to agree on much these days, but it should at the least stand up for what it does.
It agreed on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as it allowed for oil and gas leases in ANRW.