The Biden administration is expected to announce that it has canceled drilling leases in remote areas of Alaska, Bloomberg News reported.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) will invalidate the leases that the Trump administration sold in January 2021 in parcels of the National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain, Bloomberg News reported, citing unnamed sources within the Biden administration who are familiar with the matter.
Congress mandated the Trump-era sales in order to pay for 2017’s federal tax cuts.
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The DOI is anticipated to substantiate their upcoming decision by claiming that the Trump administration’s environmental reviews of the sales were legally insufficient, Bloomberg reported.
The Biden administration’s reported decision to effectively cancel the drilling rights follow oil’s price rally in international markets this summer, with the International Energy Agency projecting in August that oil prices will continue to rise in the coming months. Multiple energy sector analysts are also anticipating that Americans could see their heating bills spike if this winter is especially cold, as heating oil inventories are currently below average.
“This is another nail in the coffin of the White House lie that Joe Biden isn’t standing in the way of American energy production,” Daniel Turner, founder and executive director of Power The Future, said in a statement. “As families are dealing with rising gas prices, President Biden is working to ensure his radical green agenda comes first.”
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The DOI is also expected to move to expand environmental protections for large swaths of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA), a region of the state that is abut the size of Indiana that was designated specifically to help the country meet its energy needs, according to Bloomberg. The agency is looking to allow for the designation of conservation areas in the NPRA at least every five years, including special measures to guarantee that the protective designations cannot be overturned with ease in the future, Bloomberg reported.
The expected invalidation follows the administration’s March decision to approve the ConocoPhillips Willow project in the NPRA, according to Bloomberg. Environmentalist groups slammed the Biden administration for approving the project, which will produce 600 million barrels of oil in 30 years.
Neither the White house nor DOI responded immediately to requests for comment.
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