Biden lacks authority to restrict oil and gas leasing in Alaska, says Senator Dan Sullivan

Biden lacks authority to restrict oil and gas leasing in Alaska, says Senator Dan Sullivan

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said on Sunday that President Joe Biden “doesn’t have the authority” to limit new oil and gas leasing on federal petroleum reserves in Alaska. He was responding to the Democratic administration’s plan to protect the environment.

“Leaders of the North Slope of Alaska were unanimously against this,” Sullivan said on Sunday. He also said that Biden wasn’t being honest about what Alaska Native communities wanted when it came to the new rule on oil and gas leasing. The Biden administration finalized a rule on Friday that stops new fossil fuel leases on almost half of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. Sullivan’s words come just a few days after that.

Biden praised the limits in a statement released on Friday, saying, “I am proud that my Administration is taking action to protect more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic and to honor the culture, history, and timeless wisdom of Alaska Natives who have lived on and cared for these lands since the beginning of time.”

There are more than 23 million acres of public land in the reserve. It was set up in the 1920s as an underground oil supply for the U.S. Navy in case of a disaster. Also, the ConocoPhillips-owned Willow project has moved there. This is an oil drilling project that has upset some environmentalists.

Saying on CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, “As I say, [it’s] national security suicide,” Sullivan said, calling it “a lie” for the Biden administration to say that Alaska’s native people wanted the new rule against drilling.

“That’s not true. “Go see what the native Alaskans from my part of the state said,” Sullivan said. “It’s against the law, and he doesn’t have the power to do it.”

A Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat President named Nagruk Harcharek said on Friday that Biden’s final rule “does not reflect the wishes of our communities.” The decision to stop drilling, according to Harcharek, will “hurt the very residents the federal government claims to help by rolling back years of progress, making our communities poor, and putting our Iñupiaq culture at risk.”

On Friday, the Biden administration also moved to stop the building of an Ambler road in the Alaskan wilderness that was approved by the Trump government. If the road is built, it will make it easier for people to get to a planned copper and zinc mine. When Biden was in charge of the Interior Department, it said it wanted “no action” to be taken on the mine, which blocked the road’s access to government land.

Biden’s Alaska conservation plan, according to Interior Sec. Deb Haaland, would “underscore our commitment to ensure that places too special to develop remain intact for the communities and species that rely on them.” Haaland was the first Native American to serve as Cabinet secretary, which made history.

However, Sullivan said that Alaskan Natives “tried to meet with Secretary Haaland, but she wouldn’t meet with them.” He also said, “They’re very upset right now.”

“And the president was canceling their voices and now stealing their voices, it was really a despicable move,” he said.

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