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Governor Dunleavy Condemns Biden Bureau of Land Management’s Barrage of Anti-Alaska Actions and Announcements

Apr 19, 2024

Today Governor Mike Dunleavy condemned the Biden Administration for actions by the Bureau of Land Management that will deprive Alaskans of the opportunity for good-paying jobs and prevent Alaska from upholding its constitutional mandate to develop natural resources for the maximum benefit of the people.

NPR-A Rule Latest Biden Policy Weakening American Energy Independence
Friday, the BLM published a final rule that prohibits petroleum development in 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) and 2.8 million acres of the Beaufort Sea. The NPR-A, on Alaska’s North Slope, was designed by Congress to provide a reserve of oil for U.S. Navy and was later redesignated by Congress as an area for oil and gas exploration and development.

“NPR-A is an energy warehouse, that’s why Congress created the reserve nearly 100 years ago, so future generations of Americans have a reliable source of domestic energy,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Biden’s latest fiat to lock up half the reserve, without congressional approval, jeopardizes America’s energy security and ignores the fact Alaska and other oil producing states are now safely producing millions of barrels of crude oil per day. The hypocrisy in this decision is just unbelievable.”

BLM Supplemental EIS for Ambler Road Recommends Ignoring Congress and Alaska Native Tribes
Friday, the Bureau of Land Management also released its final supplemental environmental analysis for the Ambler Road project which would connect the Dalton Highway to the Ambler Mining District, an area with substantial reserves of critical minerals, copper and other metals fundamental to modern society and essential to clean energy technology. The BLM recommended the “No Action” alternative, reversing its recommendation issued 2020.

“The BLM cites Alaska Native subsistence as a reason for its recommendation to not build the Ambler Road, but the Biden Administration is clearly not listening to Alaskans, much less the Alaska Native people closest to the proposed route,” said Governor Dunleavy. The Allakaket Village Council, the Ruby Tribal Council, and the Hughes Village Tribe are federally-recognized Tribes. But when they speak in support of the Ambler Road, to the Biden Administration they become federally-ignored.”

The Ambler Road would run approximately 211 miles. Approximately 20 miles of the proposed road would cross National Park Service lands and another small amount would cross BLM lands. When Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) in 1980, ANILCA Section 201(4) required that right-of-way access across federal lands to the Ambler Mining District be permitted. The “No Action” alternative, if finalized in a Record of Decision, would deny Alaska a right-of-way to build the road across BLM-managed public lands in direct conflict with ANILCA.

Central Yukon Resource Management Plan Shrugs Off ANILCA’s “No More” Clause
Friday the BLM also released its Central Yukon Resource Management Plan. The proposed plan designates approximately 3.6 million acres as areas of critical environmental concern, 746,000 acres as caribou core habitat areas for two non-migratory herds, and 4,600 acres as Dall sheep habitat areas. The plan also identifies several areas as ecological benchmarks, including 4.6 million acres of BLM-managed lands that will be managed for multiple uses and monitored for effects on key benchmark characteristics as part of a landscape-scale adaptive management effort. Finally, the plan identifies 371,000 acres of BLM-managed lands as connectivity corridors, which weave together conservation areas to support ecosystem resilience and adaptive capacity in the face of change.

“In combination, these actions violate the ‘no-more clause of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act,” said Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang. “These actions establish unnecessary de facto wilderness and protection areas, unnecessarily limiting access Alaskans were guaranteed to these federal lands.”

BLM Forsakes Agency’s Mission in Issuing Public Lands Rule
Thursday the BLM published the broad-sweeping public lands rule. The rule creates an about-face in agency policy, elevating conservation on public lands to be on par with commercial use. The rule creates additional hurdles to development on federal lands managed by the BLM across the country, which is about 1/10th of the land in the United States.

“The mission of the Bureau of Land Management is to ‘sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.’ However, the Biden BLM seems to be dead set on prohibiting the use and diminishing the productivity of public lands,” said Governor Dunleavy. “The Biden Administration’s announcements in the NPR-A, the Ambler Access Project, and the BLM Land Conservation Rule are clear violations of laws passed by Congress. My administration has been fighting for Alaska’s rights since day one, and we will continue to oppose these grievous instances of federal overreach through the courts.”