Biden Admin Expected To Approve Scaled-Back Drilling In Alaska

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Antonino Cambria Contributor
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The Biden administration proposed a drilling plan in Alaska that is a scaled-back version of the original plan proposed under the Trump administration, according to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) statement.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) endorsed a scaled-back version of the ConocoPhillips (CP) drilling plan in Alaska, according to an environmental impact statement released by BLM Wednesday. The plan would allow CP to drill at just three sites with consideration deferred on a fourth, instead of the original five which CP had initially sought.

“The BLM has identified a preferred alternative in the final SEIS. Alternative E removes one of the five proposed drill sites from consideration and defers consideration of another,” the BLM statement read. “Additional environmental analysis would be required to move forward with the deferred fourth pad, and the final record of decision may identify additional deferrals.”

BLM argued the new scaled-down proposal will decrease the project’s footprint and make the land safer for the caribou population. The Department of the Interior (DOI) must still issue a final decision regarding the project.

“The preferred alternative reduces the proposed project’s footprint within the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, a critical ecological area in the NPR-A that supports thousands of migratory birds and is a primary calving area and migration corridor for the Teshekpuk Caribou herd,” the statement read. “It also reduces freshwater use for project activities as well as the overall length of infield pipelines, gravel and ice roads – all of which may impede caribou movement and impact subsistence users.”

First approved under the Trump administration in 2020, the multi-billion dollar project to drill in part of the National Petroleum Reserve, known as the Willow Master Development Plan, was aimed to produce more than 180,000 barrels of oil a day at its peak.

Upon taking office, Biden issued a temporary moratorium for new oil and gas drilling permits in federal lands. But in May 2021, the Biden administration backed the plan in court against lawsuits from environmental advocates, arguing it followed environmental regulations; however, a judge temporarily blocked the project in August 2021. (RELATED: Biden Admin Issues Fewest Oil and Gas Drilling Leases Since The 1940s: REPORT)

Since taking office, the Biden administration has scrapped drilling plans across the country, including halting oil and gas drilling on more than 58,000 acres of government land in Montana and the Dakotas.

The Bureau of Land Management did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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