Alaska Senate Delegation Leads Effort to Restore Energy Production on Alaska’s North Slope
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both R-Alaska) have introduced Alaska’s Right to Produce Act of 2023,legislation that would reverse the Biden Department of the Interior’s (DOI) decision to prohibit oil and gas development on 13 million acres within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and reinstate the lawfully awarded leases that the Biden DOI cancelled within the non-wilderness Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Representatives Pete Stauber (Minn.-08), Mary Peltola (Alaska-At Large), August Pfluger (Texas-11), and Kevin Hern (Okla.-01) introduced companion legislation in the House.
The legislation addresses two of the most onerous of the 56 anti-Alaska actions taken by the Biden administration in direct contravention to Alaska-specific federal laws. The senators argue the Biden DOI’s decisions lack scientific backing or consultation with Alaska Native stakeholders who live in the region, and come at a critical geopolitical moment when energy security is more necessary than ever.
“Just last week, I hosted leaders of the Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, the North Slope Borough, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation here in D.C. to elevate their voices and bring attention to their communities’ strong opposition to the Biden administration’s illegal cancellation of lawfully-issued leases in ANWR, and the NPR-A rule that will lock up their lands,” Senator Sullivan said. “There is palpable anger and frustration among Alaskans about the Biden administration’s unrelenting assault on our economy and our ability to lawfully access our lands. This is a grave injustice to the people who actually live on the North Slope. They have been disregarded entirely during this process and denied consultation as the Biden administration locks up their lands. Alaska has a right to produce our own energy for the sake of quality economic opportunities and good-paying jobs, and for the energy security of the entire nation.”
“Alaskans are deeply frustrated with the Biden administration’s repeated pushback of responsible resource production in our state,” said Senator Murkowski. “There is no better example than what we see happened on the North Slope now—illegally canceling valid leases in ANWR and pushing to foreclose future development in our petroleum reserve—while wholly neglecting the voices of the Alaska Natives who actually live there, all while loosening restrictions on the likes of Iran and Venezuela. Alaskans must be able to produce our vast resources for the good of the nation and our allies, and I’m pleased to be able to join Senator Sullivan and Congresswoman Peltola in this effort.”
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), former President Donald Trump established an oil and gas leasing program in ANWR. The TCJA restricted energy development in the Coastal Plain of ANWR to 2,000 acres, and production could result in the development of an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil.
On September 6, 2023, the Biden DOI announced plans to cancel all seven remaining oil and gas leases issued under the Trump administration in ANWR while concurrently locking up 13 million of acres within the NPR-A from oil and gas production. Both actions were taken without notice to the Alaska Native communities most impacted by these decisions.
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