The owner of seven oil-and-gas leases that were recently canceled by the Biden administration is readying for a legal fight, according to POLITICO’s ENERGYWIRE (subscription).
What’s going on: The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority—which bought the leases from the federal government in 2021—“has vowed to pursue legal action against the federal government for the cancellation of the leases spanning 365,000 acres in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
- Last week, the Interior Department announced that it would nullify the leases “based on what the administration called an inadequate National Environmental Policy Act review process.”
- “A willingness to circumvent laws passed by Congress has consequences reaching far beyond ANWR’s boundaries, and will impact future development across this country,” the economic development organization responded in a statement.
Required by law: While canceling the leases appears to fall under Interior’s purview, the agency is obligated by the 2017 tax law to offer two lease sales in ANWR, according to former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, ENERGYWIRE reports.
Why it’s important: ANWR is estimated to hold more than 10 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. Drilling for it would create more than 100,000 jobs while generating hundreds of billions of dollars in new government revenue, according to data from the House Committee on Natural Resources cited in USA Today.
Our take: “The administration should be taking actions that strengthen energy security, not weaken it,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Economic Policy Brandon Farris.
- “The cancellation of the ANWR leases based on the NEPA review process underscores our need to continue to reform our broken permitting system. The NAM continues to push Congress and the administration to develop policies that cut through red tape to develop all energy projects, including renewables, nuclear, oil and gas, hydrogen and more.”