Biden Administration Cancels Oil Leases in Alaska

Last week, the Biden administration—in conjunction with the Department of the Interior—announced the cancellation of leases to drill oil and gas in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge. The move cancels the leases sold under the Trump administration, and a proposed rule by the Interior Department would establish “an outright prohibition” on any future drilling in 10.6 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

The decision has divided the energy industry as environmentalists hail the move as a win, while Alaskan politicians, such as Senator Lisa Murkowski (R), called out the administration for further chilling investment in new energy projects. Sen. Murkowski said the moves represented “incoherent energy policy,” and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) blasted the decision as a disregard for Congress’ authority. The Governor said in a statement, “It’s clear that President Biden needs a refresher on the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. Federal agencies don’t get to rewrite laws, and that is exactly what the Department of the Interior is trying to do here.”

The Biden administration should stop playing politics with our nation’s energy—and national—security. The cancellation of these leases sends another signal to our domestic energy industry that the federal government will not support the production and transportation of cheap and efficient energy. Instead, the Biden administration risks increasing our reliance on foreign, and often hostile, sources of energy, as well as the potential for higher gas prices across the country. During a particularly volatile time for energy with the war in Ukraine and international sanctions on Russian oil, the U.S. should be taking every action to strengthen our domestic supply chain and energy production. The U.S. has an abundance of energy resources under our feet—and we must utilize it in order to maintain our energy independence and national security.

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