Recently, the Biden administration released a new proposal that would heavily curtail oil production and development in Alaska. Specifically, the proposed rules would revise the management of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, a 23-million-acre area rich in crude oil. The National Petroleum Reserve has been saved as an emergency oil supply, however actions by this administration could deplete this valuable energy source. This new proposal comes after several other actions by the administration against the energy industry in the state, leaving Alaskans with extremely high energy bills during a period of high global inflation.
Under the guise of conservation efforts, this proposal aims to expand safeguards for current and future “special areas”, which would remove opportunities for energy development across the reserve. The proposed rule defines that new oil leasing and infrastructure development should not be permitted in this reserve unless there is specific information demonstrating minimal adverse impacts on the environment, making it a de facto ban on opportunities in this area. These permits and projects already go through an extensive review to ensure compliance with regulations surrounding environmental protection and these new rules would further prolong this process, disincentivizing investment in the region and increasing energy costs for Alaskans.
The proposed rules would also enforce federal regulators to designate new “special areas” for maximum protection of wildlife, scenic views, or other values. The proposal also outlines that the reversal of the “special areas” could not be done unless the wildlife or scenic views were to disappear, leaving virtually no future opportunities to develop oil production in the region.
The Biden administration continues to double down on targeting domestic energy production, on the backs of American taxpayers. These new proposals will phase out oil extraction from the region, which will result in state-wide, national, and international security implications. Alaskans are already facing extremely high energy prices, already paying 33 percent more than the national average. The administration must consider all factors when it comes to pushing a disruptive agenda like this as it continues to burden Americans during a time of international instability and inflation.