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President Joe Biden canceled the remaining oil and gas leases in Alaska within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):
The Department of Interior’s scrapping of the leases comes after the Biden administration disappointed environmental groups earlier this year by approving the Willow oil project in the petroleum reserve, a massive project by ConocoPhillips Alaska that could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day on Alaska’s petroleum-rich North Slope. Protections are proposed for more than 20,000 square miles (51,800 square kilometers) of land in the reserve in the western Arctic.
Some critics who said the approval of Willow flew in the face of Biden’s pledges to address climate change lauded Wednesday’s announcement. But they said more could be done. Litigation over the approval of the Willow project is pending.
“Alaska is home to many of America’s most breathtaking natural wonders and culturally significant areas. As the climate crisis warms the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, we have a responsibility to protect this treasured region for all ages,” Biden said in a statement.
“Climate change” is their religion.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said: “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.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is ticked because he knows Biden’s administration did this because it doesn’t have the votes in Congress to cancel the leases. Plus, it dampens our ability to stay energy independent:
“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,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said. “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.”
“Let’s be clear — this is another attempt to use executive action to circumvent a law to accomplish what this administration does not have the votes to achieve in Congress,” he added. “Canceling valid leases, removing acreage from future sales, and attempting to reduce production in Alaska while taking steps to allow Iran and Venezuela to produce more oil — with fewer environmental regulations — makes no sense and is frankly embarrassing.”
The move could also harm Alaska’s Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, who immediately released a statement slamming Biden’s actions:
“I am deeply frustrated by the reversal of these leases in ANWR,” Peltola said. “This administration showed that it is capable of listening to Alaskans with the approval of the Willow Project, and it is some of those same Inupiat North Slope communities who are the ones that are most impacted by this decision.
“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. We can only get to that transition by listening to the people on the ground. Finally, we can’t keep erasing our progress with every administration. I will continue to advocate for permitting reform that includes predictable timelines from the federal government, which must be a reliable partner in leasing and developing our resources,” she continued.
The leases covered 365,775 acres in non-wilderness areas.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) estimates these areas hold “7.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.”
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