(Official editorial of the Washington Examiner, June 3) President Joe Biden continues his fight against domestic fossil fuel production while bolstering foreign energy efforts that will harm the environment far more than American activity does.

Worse, now he is doing so in ways that may prove illegal, and that could leave taxpayers on the hook for tens or hundreds of billions of dollars. His actions are manifestly harmful to U.S. interests.

On June 1, Biden’s Interior Department said it is suspending all oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, despite a 2017 law directing the federal government to open the territory to drilling. The putative reason for suspending the property rights of the leaseholders, who paid the U.S. government good money for the drilling rights, is to conduct additional environmental and legal/antitrust reviews. The excuse is nonsense: U.S. law directs the government to allow the drilling, and the environmental regulations governing it are already stringent.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that ANWR contains 10.4 billion barrels of crude oil. This oil can provide energy for Alaskans and all the Western states, keeping prices low and avoiding shortages. It is oil that can keep the Trans-Alaska Pipeline operational, which now runs at 75% less than peak production, resulting in slower delivery times and a worse quality of oil due to chemical processes caused by low flow in freezing weather.

Photos from the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) meeting in Barrow, Alaska March 11-12 2016. Read more about SDWG: www.sdwg.org
Photos are available for use according to the creative commons license CC BY-NC-ND.
Photo credit: Arctic Council Secretariat / Kseniia Iartceva

Republicans on the House Committee on Natural Resources cite studies saying the leases could generate up to $296 billion in new federal revenue and create somewhere between 55,000 and 130,000 jobs. The native Iñupiat community of Kaktovik, Alaska, whose environment would be affected by the drilling, has strongly and repeatedly supported energy development there and has denounced the Biden administration’s decision.

The lessees have contractual rights that Biden’s order temporarily abrogates. If the suspension of the leases continues, legal fights are sure to ensue — but in the end, the federal government will likely be liable not just for repaying the amount of the lease bids but also for the lost production/profits of the lessees….

[The full editorial is at this link.]


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