Alaska Sues Biden Admin Over Canceled Oil Leases

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Alaska is suing the Biden administration for cancelling oil and gas leases sold in the state under the Trump administration.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) formally filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior on Wednesday, a move which it had promised to make in response to DOI’s September decision to retroactively cancel seven oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The DOI hailed the cancellations as a strong action to protect the environment, but industry groups and political officials slammed the revocations for their questionable legality and effects on the U.S. energy sector.

“The federal government is determined to strip away Alaska’s ability to support itself, and we have got to stop it,” Republican Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said of the lawsuit. “We will not allow illegal actions to occur against Alaska and I fully support this lawsuit.” (RELATED: ‘Sue And Settle’: ‘Sue And Settle’: Biden Admin Agrees To Block Oil And Gas Drilling After Settling With Eco Activists)

The DOI justified scrapping seven ANWR leases by asserting that the Trump administration’s lease sale was “seriously flawed,” citing perceived failures to consider the environmental impacts of the oil and gas activity, according to Reuters.

“Joe Biden is going to lose in court,” Suzanne Downing, publisher of Must Read Alaska, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The federal government is required by law to sell oil and gas leases on the coastal plain of ANWR, which is a big swath of gravel. Now, the administration is trying to take back what has legitimately been leased.”

Congress mandated the Trump-era lease sales in order to pay for 2017’s federal tax cuts. The plots of land in question were eventually sold to the AIDEA in 2021, according to Reuters.

“This lawsuit wouldn’t be necessary had the Biden administration followed the law that I drafted, consulted with the Alaska Natives who actually live on the North Slope, or simply acted in America’s best interest,” Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said of the lawsuit. “At this precarious time in the world, all this does is increase our reliance on foreign oil, harm our energy and national security and drive up fuel costs at the pump.”

Including the ANWR cancellation, there have been no fewer than 55 executive actions targeting the state of Alaska, according to Murkowski.

The DOI and AIDEA did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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