The Biden administration announced late on Sunday that it would ban fossil fuel extraction on 16 million acres of federal land and water in Alaska, with no expiration date.
Decision of DOI on Fossil Fuel Extraction
The National Petroleum Reserve (NPR) in North Slope Borough, Alaska includes 13 million acres that the Department of Interior (DOI) is protecting with new laws.
Congress designated NPR territory for resource development, but the DOI wants to conserve it. President Biden also ordered the withdrawal of 2.8 million acres of oil and gas leasing in the Beaufort Sea, an Arctic Ocean region off Alaska’s northern shore.
The Department of Interior (DOI) said President Biden’s recent actions show his commitment to the most ambitious climate agenda ever undertaken by an American president.
The DOI noted these measures have made the US a desirable location for renewable energy manufacturing and employment growth. The statement also recognized Biden’s efforts in addressing climate change and environmental justice.
President Biden officially approved the Willow Project.
Instead of sticking to his own climate goals and listening to the millions of young people who carried the party for the last three election cycles, @POTUS is letting the fossil fuel industry have their way. pic.twitter.com/45mjJflMYK
— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) March 13, 2023
The DOI said that Biden’s economic initiatives had put the US on track to meet its 2030 and 2050 climate objectives. The government reduced oil reliance and shielded American households from Putin’s energy market operations.
This suggests the federal government will not produce fossil fuels in the Arctic Ocean for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the region has not had an offshore lease sale since 2007. The government said there would be no further auctions until at least 2028.
The DOI revealed that Biden intends to prohibit fossil fuel extraction in the “unique regions” of Colville River, Teshekpuk Lake, Kasegaluk Lagoon, Utukok Uplands, and Peard Bay, known for their rich and plentiful wildlife.
The administration’s comprehensive efforts also ban fossil fuel pipeline projects in northern Alaska.
A former senior Bureau of Land Management official told Fox News Digital on Sunday evening that the current decision was political and unsupported by scientific data, climate change studies, or biological resources.
The official said the government ignored scientific findings to accommodate political groups.
This is an incredibly disappointing decision by the Biden admin that will set us back on our climate goals.
But the fight isn’t over – I’ll keep working to stop this climate disaster and protect the tribes and wildlife that depend on a fossil fuel-free Arctic. #StopWillow https://t.co/Ji40MGiTqm
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@RepHuffman) March 13, 2023
Political Pressure on Biden Administration Mounts
The DOI’s declaration seems to be an attempt by the government to calm climate activists’ anxieties about a judgment on the enormous 30-year oil drilling project planned for the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR).
A congressional aide said the Biden administration would accept three of the five Willow Project drilling sites, an oil venture proposed by ConocoPhillips some years ago. Monday’s announcement of this is expected.
If authorized, ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project will produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day, 2,500 construction jobs, and 300 permanent employment. The project might generate $17 billion for the federal government, Alaskan communities, and Indigenous peoples.
The project might generate 600 million barrels of oil over three decades.
Although the Department of Interior will make the Willow Project’s ultimate decision, President Biden and other White House officials have been carefully following the permitting process.
Senator Ed Markey tweeted the government should prioritize renewable energy over fossil fuels and oppose the Willow Project.
The oil flow direction didn’t matter since it was the incorrect course. Senator Jeff Merkley likewise called the administration’s expected project approval a “complete betrayal.”This article appeared in TheDailyBeat and has been published here with permission.