Biden Administration Roasted for Canceling Alaska Drilling Permits

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The Biden Administration has taken steps to eliminate exploration and development of new energy sources in the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR) on Alaska’s North Slope.


President Biden was heavily criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for his administration’s actions Wednesday, significantly curbing fossil fuel drilling in an oil-rich region of Alaska.

As part of the actions, the Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed regulations to “ensure maximum protection” for 13 million acres of land across the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR), an area in North Slope Borough, Alaska. Biden further ordered an additional 2.8 million of acres to be withdrawn from oil and gas leasing in the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast of Alaska.

It doesn’t stop there. The administration has also canceled seven existing leases issued to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. These leases, issued during the Trump Administration, covered 365,775 acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “Climate change” was cited as the reason for the cancelation.

Additionally, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland authorized the cancelation of seven leases issued in 2021 to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), a state agency. Those leases were purchased in January 2021 and span 365,775 acres across non-wilderness areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“With climate change warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, we must do everything within our control to meet the highest standards of care to protect this fragile ecosystem,” Haaland said.


Last June I wrote on this topic, noting that Alaska has 22 billion barrels of oil and as much as 124 trillion cubic feet of natural gas available; that’s a safe, domestic source of vast amounts of energy, not subject to the whims of possibly-unfriendly foreign powers. But the Biden Administration seems to care not a jot about abundant, cheap energy, without which a modern, technological society such as ours simply cannot exist. And actions like this have a chilling effect on the energy companies, who are understandably reluctant to sink millions into exploration in an area that may be shut down at a change of administration.

The Biden Administration’s actions have drawn some heated replies from Democrats and Republicans alike. Democrat Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had this to say:

I can’t explain to the American people why we would willingly become more dependent on foreign oil imports, eliminate good paying American jobs and drive up the cost of our electric bills and gas prices across the country. This is yet another example of this administration caving to the radical left with no regard for clear direction from Congress or American energy security.

Several members of the Republican delegation weighed in as well. In a statement, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said:

President Biden’s war on American energy continues. He is ignoring the law and making us more dependent on foreign oil. Not only is this bad energy policy, it’s bad foreign policy. Today’s decision rewards our adversaries and hurts American families.


Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said:

Once again, President Biden is stifling domestic energy production in pursuit of his radical green agenda. His cancellation of leases and complete disregard for the law pushes us even further away from energy independence.”

Alaska’s own Congressional delegation, consisting of one Democrat, one Republican, and Lisa Murkowski, unanimously condemned the move:

“The Biden Administration, at a time when America and our allies need Alaska’s resources more than ever, has decided to go their own way by further locking Alaska down while refusing to consult with the Alaska Natives who actually live on the North Slope,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said the actions were part of the Biden administration’s “unrelenting assault on our economy and our ability to lawfully access our lands.” He also argued they would create a chilling effect, disincentivizing energy investment in the state.

“I am deeply frustrated by the reversal of these leases in ANWR,” said Democratic Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola. “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.”

Some relevant figures: When Joe Biden assumed the presidency in 2021, gasoline was averaging $2.40 per gallon. At the end of August this year, the nationwide average was $3.80 per gallon. The same figures for heating oil over the same time frame are $1.74 and $3.01. This is a recipe for economic disaster.


Add to this issue the fact that America’s electrical grid is aging, badly. Our entire society relies on electricity; without it, we’re kicked back to 1850, and our country at the technological level of 1850 can’t support 335,000,000 people. You’re looking at mass starvation, especially in the cities, and open civil conflict, if this happens. And our electricity production still relies heavily on coal and natural gas.

The Biden Administration’s actions here are reckless. They are based on a flawed premise. They will cost Alaskans jobs, mostly in places like the North Slope Borough where there are few other options. They will cost Americans more at the gas pump; they will make it more expensive to heat and light your home, and increased energy prices will have a downstream effect on every price in our huge, complex modern economy. To call these actions reckless is an understatement; a more accurate description would be “stupid.”

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