(The Center Square) – The Biden administration is canceling seven Alaskan oil and gas leases issued by the Trump administration, it said Wednesday.
The Department of Interior put the leases, located on 365,000 acres in the Coastal Plain region, on hold in June 2021.
“With climate change warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, we must do everything within our control to meet the highest standards of care to protect this fragile ecosystem,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. “President Biden is delivering on the most ambitious climate and conservation agenda in history. The steps we are taking today further that commitment, based on the best available science and in recognition of the Indigenous Knowledge of the original stewards of this area, to safeguard our public lands for future generations.”
The Trump administration awarded nine leases on more than 430,000 acres shortly before the former president left office, according to a news release from the Department of Interior. The two other leases were previously canceled at the lessee’s request.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, blasted the Biden administration in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“This war on Alaska is devastating for not only Alaska but also the energy security of the nation,” Sullivan said. “This unlawful cancellation of leases brings us to 55 executive orders and actions specifically targeting Alaska since President Biden assumed office. This is a grave injustice to the Inupiat people of the North Slope, especially in Kaktovik – the only village in ANWR. As evidenced by this and so many of the admin’s actions, the idea of ‘equity’ is being exploited as a hollow political soundbite.”
The public has 45 days to comment on the department’s decision.
“This is another nail in the coffin of the White House lie that Joe Biden isn’t standing in the way of American energy production,” Power The Future Founder and Executive Director Daniel Turner said in a statement. “As families are dealing with rising gas prices, President Biden is working to ensure his radical green agenda comes first.”
The DOI also proposes new regulations for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska that could limit oil and gas leases in the area. A 60-day comment period will open after it is published in the National Register, the department said.