US government cancels seven oil and gas leases in Alaska

The US department said that the 2021 lease sale was ‘seriously flawed’.

Shivam Mishra September 07 2023

The US Department of the Interior has cancelled seven oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

As per Reuters’ report, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) purchased the leases in the last days of former President Donald Trump's administration.

Just a day before President Joe Biden's inauguration, the Republican-controlled Trump administration granted seven leases to the Alaskan state development body.

The US Department said that the 2021 lease sale was ‘seriously flawed‘ due to several reasons with inadequate evaluation as per the National Environmental Policy Act being one of them.

Additionally, the government said that it would prohibit new leasing on more than ten million acres of Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A).

Spanning over 23 million acres, NPR-A is a region on the state's North Slope that is the country's largest undeveloped public property.

The move highlights the Biden administration’s most recent attempt to limit oil and gas development on public lands as part of a larger plan to tackle climate change.

In a statement, Biden said: “As the climate crisis warms the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, we have a responsibility to protect this treasured region for all ages.

“Canceling all remaining oil and gas leases issued under the previous administration in the Arctic Refuge and protecting more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic will help preserve our Arctic lands and wildlife while honouring the culture, history, and enduring wisdom of Alaska Natives who have lived on these lands since time immemorial.”

In response to the announcement, AIDEA said that it would appeal to prevent the leases from being terminated.

"This latest action by the Department of the Interior shows arbitrary disregard for Federal law, based on campaign trail rhetoric," AIDEA was quoted by the news agency as saying.

"Campaign promises are not enough to justify this agency action."

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