Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy issued the following statement after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signaled that it plans to close millions of acres in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) that has been available for responsible resource development.
“This request for additional stay and accompanying information makes clear the Federal government intends another unwarranted hit to Alaska and the nation,” said Governor Dunleavy. “What they propose would further harm Alaska’s oil industry and disproportionately negatively affect Alaska Natives. The U.S. Department of Interior proposes to lock-down Alaska, take away local opportunities, resources, and other benefits that the National Petroleum Reserve is intended for. This is another sign of the federal government turning its back on Alaska and hampering domestic energy production. The U.S. Department of Interior is putting the nation in a situation where we have to rely on foreign oil countries at a time for growing prices and concern for American consumers.”
The Biden administration announced yesterday they are choosing Alternative A – the “No Action Alternative” from the NPR-A’s 2020 Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) as its preferred alternative. This would close approximately half of the surface acreage of the reserve to energy leasing and regresses NPR-A management back to policies established in 2013 under the Obama Administration. The current administration has shown a pattern of routinely attempting to shut down domestic energy production in Alaska and other parts of the United States.
The announcement disregards the concerns and input of the local Alaska Native people who rely on the NPR-A for employment and much needed funding for infrastructure projects and community needs through the Impact Mitigation Grant Fund, which is funded exclusively through royalties and revenues generated from oil & gas development in the NPR-A. The groups affected by this decision, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC), the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope (ICAS), and the North Slope Borough (Borough), all report concerns with yesterday’s decision by the Biden administration – which claims that its top public policy goal is to advance racial equity and support underserved communities, yet contradicts these values with this decision.