President Biden's administration earlier this week announced a suspension of oil and gas leases at Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) pending an environmental review.
The move reverses a drill program approved by the Trump administration towards the end of his term in office.
The region is home to polar bears and other wildlife, but also a rich oil reserve.
"The action undoes one of the characteristic efforts of former President Donald Trump to expand fossil fuel development in the United States," reports Reuters.
It's also "a setback for the Alaska state government, which was hoping the opening of the vast haven would help revitalize its declining oil industry."
Biden sets up drilling leases from the Trump era in Alaska https://t.co/zCqIvn7xhE
– BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 1, 2021
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Biden stops drilling leases in Alaska
President Biden's Home Office announced in a statement that there would be a review to investigate "legal flaws" in the previous government's environmental analysis of leasing in ANWR.
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White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy said Biden was "grateful for the quick action" the department took in suspending the Trump-era leases.
Environmentalists no doubt were happy to hear the news, but not all were enthusiastic about the government's actions.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) promised to take legal action.
"Our oil and gas leases are in effect and cannot be taken away by the federal government," Dunleavy said in a statement. "I reject this attack on the Alaskan economy and will use all means necessary to reverse this egregious violation of the federal government."
. @ GovDunleavy to Neil about President Biden Suspending Alaskan Drilling Leases in the Arctic: It Doesn't Empower America, It Doesn't Help Alaska, and It Won't Stop Climate Change pic.twitter.com/cg2dpNPliB
– Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) June 2, 2021
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Trump-era law could be Stymie Biden's efforts
President Trump boasted in a list of his accomplishments on the White House website in January of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to oil and gas leasing.
On his final days in office, Trump's administration announced that it had officially issued the oil drilling leases.
"ANWR is a big thing that Ronald Reagan couldn't do and no one could do it," Trump said in an August interview with Fox & Friends.
President Biden plans to end oil well leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but a Trump-era bill passed in 2017 could thwart his plans. https://t.co/1qjTp6O0n6
– The New York Times (@nytimes) June 3, 2021
The New York Times reports that a bill passed by Republicans during former President Trump's tenure could thwart Biden's efforts.
"A law passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 requires the president to hold two lease sales in the refuge before the end of 2024," they write.
“President Donald Trump held the first; Now legal experts say the Biden government could be prevented from making a second sale.
Imagine if Biden had to hold a lease sale in ANWR just like his predecessor.
The White House has suspended oil drilling leases in the Arctic.
June 2021, the Biden administration rolled back a program approved by Trump's White House that would have allowed oil and gas companies to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. pic.twitter.com/BAX0yDmWcd
– NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 3, 2021
Biden's latest move could kill jobs in Alaska.
"Thousands of Alaskans are employed in our oil industry, and their livelihoods depend on the well-paying jobs created by our state's reserves," said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) when discussing plans to open the Arctic Refuge to Holes have been completed.
Biden has already shown he was ready to kill American jobs to appease environmental extremists and canceled the Keystone XL pipeline when he took office.
Had Biden committed to developing ANWR's resources, tens of thousands of jobs would be created to supply 1.45 billion barrels of oil per day, with government revenues estimated at up to $ 440 billion.
"Biden's decision is not only an attack on jobs in Alaska, but also an attack on the US's energy independence," says the Republican National Committee.
The decision also comes as gas prices hit their highest level in 7 years on Memorial Day weekend, with rising energy prices sparking inflation fears.
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