Group sues Biden administration for information on Alaska oil drilling

071317 Arctic drilling js pic
Eni will drill only test wells in the Beaufort Sea to ascertain the amount of oil and natural gas off the coast of Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/SSgt. Aaron M. Johnson) SSgt Aaron M. Johnson

Group sues Biden administration for information on Alaska oil drilling

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(The Center Square) – The Americans for Prosperity Foundation filed a court action Tuesday against the Biden administration, claiming they have failed to respond properly to a request for information on oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Trump administration approved the oil and drilling leases in January 2021, shortly before the former president left office. The Biden administration canceled them last month, citing concerns about climate change.

AFP filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the secretary of the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, according to court documents provided by the organization.

The departments acknowledged the requests were received but have not provided them, according to AFP. The group asks the U.S. District Court to order the departments to release the information.

A spokesman with the Bureau of Land Management told The Center Square the department does not respond to pending litigation.

The court action is the second filed this month over the canceled leases. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is asking a federal court to reverse the Biden administration’s decision. The agency said the leases are legal and the Biden administration did not get Alaska officials a chance to fix any problems.

The AIDEA is also asking the court to order the Biden administration to proceed with the leasing and development of the area.

The Interior Department’s decision hurts Alaska, Gov. Mike Dunleavy said when the lawsuit was filed.

“The federal government is determined to strip away Alaska’s ability to support itself, and we have got to stop it,” Dunleavy said in a statement. “Alaska does responsible oil and gas development in the Arctic under stricter environmental standards than anywhere else in the world. Yet the federal government is focused on trying to stop our ability to produce oil and gas.”

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