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Delegation Denounces Executive Order to Stop Oil and Gas Leasing on Federal Lands

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and U.S. Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, issued the following statements after President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order directing the Secretary of the Interior to not issue any new oil or natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters, as well as requiring the Department to evaluate all existing leasing and permitting practices.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the oil and gas industry supported $3.1 billion in state and local revenue, 77,600 direct and indirect Alaskan jobs, and $4.4 billion of annual spending with local businesses.

“Just one week ago, the Biden administration placed a temporary moratorium on all federal activities in the non-wilderness 1002 area of ANWR and revoked the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. As a result, share prices of U.S. oil companies tumbled and developers were forced to immediately lay off hard working Americans, leaving tens of thousands more jobs at risk. Today the Administration continued its assault on Alaska and America’s economy through an Executive Order which halts all new oil and gas leasing on federal lands. I support a transition to clean, sustainable energy, but pulling the rug out from under Alaska’s economy is not the way to go about it. Alaskans are already struggling to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inhibiting Alaska’s resource development will only hamper our ability to recover,” said Senator Murkowski. “The oil and gas industry has been the backbone of our state. When this industry prospers, so do Alaskans. I remain committed to working with the delegation, state, and Alaskans to find a path forward.”

“The Biden administration is doubling down today on a radical shift in domestic policy against America having a strong, robust, all-of-the-above energy sector,” said Senator Sullivan. “We are entering a new era of hostility toward energy producers and the millions of Americans they employ. Today’s order promises to ‘revitalize’ resource development-based communities, a promise that won’t be realized for years to come, if at all, in some regions of the country, particularly in Alaska. In reality, this order actually threatens to leave behind the hard-working Americans and their families who will undoubtedly find themselves out of work—in the middle of a devastating pandemic. This sweeping, misguided policy will kill good-paying middle class jobs, make America more reliant on foreign sources of energy, empower global bad actors like Russia and Iran, and ultimately hurt the President’s climate change goals as more oil and gas is produced by nations with much lower environmental standards.”

"It is not surprising, though no less disappointing, that President Biden is continuing Obama-era attacks against Alaska and against energy projects across the country. By placing a moratorium on oil and gas projects on federal land, President Biden has surrendered to his party's environmental extremists at the cost of good-paying jobs. I want the President to know this: in Alaska, we have shown for decades that energy development and environmental protection can go hand in hand. Make no mistake; these actions will raise the cost of energy on Alaskan families, many of which are already suffering from the impacts of COVID-19. This moratorium serves only to hinder our economy, stifle energy independence, and in many ways, are a gift to adversaries like Russia, China, and Venezuela. For years, America has been leading the way in reducing emissions, and it is time for other countries to do the same. I call on President Biden to recognize that if the United States is not producing energy, hostile countries with far lower environmental standards will fill the void. For the sake of national security and economic growth, President Biden must reverse this disastrous moratorium. In the meantime, Alaskans can count on me to continue standing up for our state’s energy sector, the families who depend on it for their livelihoods, and for the future of our state's economy," said Congressman Young.

Background:

On January 20, President Joe Biden announced a pause on all federal activities – including seismic testing - in the non-wilderness Coastal Plain (1002 Area) of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and reinstated the Northern Bering Sea climate resilience area and the 12(a) OCS Arctic withdrawals.

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