WHITBECK: Biden Admin Crushing Alaska For Sake Of Reelection

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Rick Whitbeck Alaska State Director, Power The Future
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From the frequency of the attacks, one would think President Joe Biden has a personal vendetta against Alaska. In reality, he’s just trying to do anything he can to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for another four years. Even if that means continuing to harm the people of my state.

As Earth Day approached, Biden took three substantial actions in the two weeks prior — all targeting Alaska’s resource base. Recent polling shows young, climate-obsessed voters between 18-29 abandoning the President in droves, with the gap between he and President Trump down to 13 points, from a 30-point advantage at this time in 2020.

Those voters’ collective shrills have railed against the very few Biden decisions to allow traditional energy projects to move forward, including the Willow oil and gas development in Alaska. Something had to be done to help bring them back, so Team Biden went into action.

To begin with, in a game of “pass-the-buck,” the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected an appeal from the Pebble Mine’s developers April 15, deciding instead that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2023 veto of the project’s clean water permit was an action they couldn’t overturn.

Pebble is a copper, gold, molybdenum and rhenium asset that is housed completely on Alaskan land. It would bring up to 1,000 full-time jobs to an area of the state that seasonally has unemployment numbers averaging more than 10%. The economics of the mine – worth $350-500 billion in 2008 dollars and market conditions – could approach $1 trillion with today’s increased mineral prices. It has been fought for nearly two decades by environmental organizations, who will now see how the legal battle over Pebble will play out in federal court.

Then, the Department of Interior announced April 19 that it was making permanent the September 2023 temporary ban on all types of development for over 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), an Indiana-sized part of Alaska’s North Slope, and the home to many of its more recent oil and gas finds.

Even before that announcement, Alaska’s bipartisan Congressional delegation, the Iñupiat Alaska Natives who live across the North Slope and the Alaska Legislature had tried to make their case for removing the protections. Nonetheless, with the decision, the vocal minority opposing NPR-A development won, and Alaskans lost.

That’s a whole lot of canceling for Alaska, especially when you consider much of it is for the components Biden needs for his green transition.

Doubling up on bad news for Alaska, the Interior Department administratively reversed course on a previously-approved 211-mile road to Alaska’s Ambler Access Project, showing they are simply anti-production.

Why else kill access to the Ambler Mining District, a federally authorized area known for decades to hold massive amounts of copper and other minerals needed to”go green?” Talk about a cancel culture.

From the day Biden assumed office, Alaska’s resource industry has been a key target of the his administration, with over 60 administrative and executive orders, or one action less than every three weeks in his term.

The actions have shuttered congressionally-approved projects from Alaska’s North Slope to its Southeast panhandle. They’ve put thousands of existing Alaskan jobs at risk, with thousands more potential ones placed in limbo. In fact, the only thing Joe Biden will mine in Alaska is feeble credibility with his green friends.

Between the NPR-A opportunities, Pebble and Ambler’s proposed projects, well over 5,000 jobs are now lost to Joe Biden’s pandering. But an equal number of climate-centric voters could have been even more disillusioned with the President during a key stretch of his reelection campaign, and right now, they’re more important than jobs, revenues and energy security.

Too bad the President would rather win an election than do what is right for Alaska and America.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs and fights back against economy-killing and family-destroying environmental extremism. Contact him at Rick@PowerTheFuture.com and follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @PTFAlaska.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.