Biden Admin Limits Drilling in Alaska in Latest Oil Industry Crackdown

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April 19, 2024

The Biden administration on Friday dealt another blow to the U.S. oil industry by declaring millions of acres in Alaska off limits to new oil drilling.

The Department of the Interior announced on Friday that it will prohibit any new oil drilling project in the U.S. Arctic Ocean as well as on 11 million acres of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve and nearly 3 million acres of Alaska’s coastal waters, according to Politico

President Joe Biden is "proud that [his] Administration is taking action to conserve more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic and to honor the culture, history, and enduring wisdom of Alaska Natives who have lived on and stewarded these lands since time immemorial," the White House said in a statement on Friday.

Dustin Meyer, senior vice president of policy at the American Petroleum Institute, denounced the Biden administration’s move as "yet another step in the wrong direction."

"This misguided rule from the Biden Administration sharply limits future oil and natural gas development in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, a region explicitly intended by Congress to bolster America’s energy security while generating important economic growth and revenue for local Alaskan communities," Meyer told Politico.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R., Alaska) accused Biden of caving to "the far-left radicals he feels are key to his reelection" and letting America’s geopolitical rivals get ahead. "The message this administration is sending to the dictators in Iran, China and Russia is this: We won’t use our resources to strengthen our country—but you can use your resources to strengthen your country," Sullivan said at a Thursday press conference.

Friday’s crackdown on the oil industry came after the Biden administration last week finalized regulations that would hike the cost of oil and gas drilling on public lands. A Bloomberg report on Wednesday also said the administration is weighing an unprecedented declaration of a national climate emergency to drastically reduce oil exports and offshore drilling. 

A Gallup poll earlier this month, however, showed Americans are less interested in buying electric vehicles than they were last year, even amid the president’s efforts to crack down on gas-powered vehicles by effectively requiring 56 percent of new vehicles to be electric by 2032.