Biden Admin To Reduce Oil Leasing in Alaska

Comes amid record spike in energy prices

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January 11, 2022

The Biden administration announced Monday it will ban oil and gas leasing on 11 million acres of Alaska's North Slope, reversing a Trump-era expansion of the country's petroleum reserve.

The Department of the Interior will block leases on nearly half of the 23 million-acre National Petroleum Reserve, federal land set aside for oil and gas extraction. The Trump administration had expanded oil leasing to 18.6 million acres, but the new order will reimpose Obama-era restrictions.

Although the Biden administration claims the regulations will help protect "threatened and endangered species," Alaska governor Mike Dunleavy (R.) slammed the order, saying it will diminish U.S. oil production amid a record spike in energy prices.

"This is another sign of the federal government turning its back on Alaska and hampering domestic energy production," Dunleavy told the Wall Street Journal. "The U.S. Department of Interior is putting the nation in a situation where we have to rely on foreign oil … at a time for growing prices and concern for American consumers."

The cost of energy commodities has spiked 57 percent over the last year, the Labor Department reported in December. The national average price of gas, meanwhile, increased nearly a dollar—a 42 percent jump.

The latest order follows the Biden administration's June decision to block oil and gas leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The White House has faced increasing pressure from environmental groups, which have filed lawsuits to block energy leasing on federal lands.

Nada Culver, deputy director of the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the National Petroleum Reserve, formerly helmed a nonprofit that pushes for an Alaska drilling ban, the Washington Free Beacon reported in June.