Skip to content

Alaska Joins Lawsuit Challenging Executive Order Affecting On-shore and Off-shore Oil and Gas Leases

Mar 24, 2021

(Anchorage, AK) – Today, the State of Alaska joined a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana challenging the Biden Administration’s unlawful moratorium placed on the federal oil and gas leasing program. At issue is an Executive Order issued by President Biden that calls for the cessation of all new federal oil and gas leasing, “pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.” The President, however, has made no secret that his Administration’s agenda is to halt all new oil and gas leasing on federal onshore and offshore lands.

“We fear that President Biden’s attack on federal oil and gas leasing has only begun, and the State must be involved to protect the interests of all Alaskans in the responsible development of the bountiful natural resources contained within Alaska,” said Governor Dunleavy. “As today marks the 32nd anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill at Bligh Reef, we reflect on the ways in which we have incorporated precautions to ensure an event like this will never occur again. The petroleum resources that are so important to Americans and our economy will need to be developed from somewhere in the world. We’re proud of the efforts we make to responsibly develop and transport oil to meet American demand, and we’re only getting better.”

“This overreaching Executive Order has delayed a long-planned federal oil and gas lease sale in Alaska’s Cook Inlet,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. “This case allows us to stand opposed to the wholesale prohibition on new federal leasing sought by the President, and serves as a statement to the new administration about the importance of the oil and gas industry to the State of Alaska.”

Alaska is consistently a top producer of oil and gas in the U.S. As the Biden administration considers policies that would move Alaska away from more carbon intensive energy sources – Alaskan production should be favored to meet demand that is likely to continue for decades.

Alaska prohibits waste and restricts the circumstances under which flaring and venting may occur. The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) reports that less than 0.3% of the total volume of produced gas is flared or vented in Alaska and a very small fraction of that amount is determined to be waste. Other regulatory bodies including Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, as well as myriad federal agencies ensure that from start to finish environmental impacts are scrutinized and mitigated to the greatest extent practicable. Additionally, Alaska adheres to workplace safety, labor laws, and numerous regulations that ensure the oil and gas industry performs to the highest standards.