Published since 1946
DOI Cancels Oil and Gas Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Issues New Protections for NPR-A
On September 6, the Department of the Interior announced that it had cancelled the seven remaining oil and gas leases in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The leases were suspended in June 2021 under Secretary’s Order 3401 that cited legal deficiencies in the August 2020 record of decision authorizing the leasing program. At the same time, the Department proposed new regulations to govern the management of surface resources and special areas within the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) while supporting subsistence activities by Alaskan native communities.
“With climate change warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, we must do everything within our control to meet the highest standards of care to protect this fragile ecosystem,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “President Biden is delivering on the most ambitious climate and conservation agenda in history. The steps we are taking today further that commitment, based on the best available science and in recognition of the Indigenous Knowledge of the original stewards of this area, to safeguard our public lands for future generations.”
The three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation joined together in a statement opposing the announcement. “The NPR-A, which is explicitly designated for energy production, turns 100 this year, and we have worked for decades how to responsibly develop a very small portion of the non-wilderness 1002 Area,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “Now the Biden Administration, at a time when America and our allies need Alaska’s resources more than ever, has decided to go their own way by further locking Alaska down while refusing to consult with the Alaska Natives who actually live on the North Slope.”