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Governor Dunleavy Prepares to Fight Biden Administration Over Resource Development Will seek an increase in Alaska Statehood Defense funds in FY22 budget

Sep 9, 2021

September 9, 2021 (Anchorage) – At a press conference today, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy was joined by representatives from five of the state’s leading resource development organizations to call out the Biden administration for its latest attempts to snuff out Alaska’s natural resource based economy that will result in lost jobs, revenue and economic prosperity for all Alaskans. Earlier this week, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced it will “reevaluate” the approved plan of development for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, an area specifically set aside by the U.S. Congress for oil and gas development. This means the proposed Willow Project, which could produce up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day, may be derailed. BLM’s own webpage states NPR-A “is an important resource for meeting America’s energy needs.” Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing it will file legal proceedings to re-start the Clean Water Act 404c veto process for Bristol Bay. This could set a dangerous precedent by allowing a federal agency to preemptively veto any project or permit on state land.

Governor Dunleavy will request additional funding in his proposed FY 22 budget for the Alaska Statehood Defense legal fund to preserve our rights to Alaska’s land and waters. The funds will be used to take the Biden administration to court to defend Alaska’s rights and its ability to support itself with responsible and safe natural resource development.

“The Biden administration is clearly demonstrating what it has planned for Alaska. The consequences for Alaskan families and the future of our state are dire”, said Governor Dunleavy. “Alaska is the energy storehouse for the entire nation, we have abundant reserves of oil and gas to power the economy and the necessary minerals to transform the nation’s economy with electric vehicles and digital technology. Instead of using domestic supplies of these critical resources, President Biden asks foreign countries, with little or no environmental protections, to supply America with rare earth and other critically important minerals. Now he’s begging OPEC to increase oil production to shield him and his political allies from the public criticism that is the inevitable result of higher fuel costs. Alaskans need to band together and tell the Biden administration to stop its assault on Alaska’s economy for the good of the entire country.”

Here are more examples of the Biden administration’s actions against Alaska:

• Cancelled oil and gas exploration leases in ANWR
• Stopped all new oil and gas leases on federal public land
• Reversed lifting the Roadless Rule in the Tongass National Forest
• The radical 30X30 program that could lock up Alaska forever
• Changing the definition of Waters of the United States, to grab more land and water from Alaska
• Ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the Sturgeon Case

“The announcement to place the NPR-A management plan under ‘review’ is yet another disappointing and short-sighted action that hurts Alaska’s economic recovery,. “This is just the latest of a recent barrage of heavy-handed federal policies aimed at Alaska that threaten our ability to produce jobs and opportunity for all. It also sends a chilling message to the investment community that Alaska is an unstable place to do business. In this unfortunate and volatile federal environment, it is critical that Alaska policymakers do everything within their power to provide a predictable, stable and competitive investment climate.” – President and CEO Kati Capozzi, Alaska Chamber

Today’s announcement by the EPA to initiate “protections in Bristol Bay” is just one more piece of evidence that the Biden administration doesn’t want Alaska to have its own sustainable economy. As we know, Alaska was admitted to the union because of our ability to sustain ourselves as a natural resource economy, and we have done so successfully for over 60 years. Here we have our Legislature convened in Juneau, searching for solutions for new revenue, and our Federal government moves to take a state asset worth hundreds of billions off of Alaska’s table. This decision is under the guise that mining cannot be done responsibly at Pebble, which directly contradicts the Environmental Impact Statement done last year that concluded the project can be done without harm to the region’s fisheries or water resources. And to add insult to injury, it’s inconsistent with the Administration’s goals for green energy, which requires a significant increase in copper production. Seeking minerals needed from foreign sources while denying their development Alaska is unacceptable. – Executive Director Deantha Skibinski, Alaska Miners Association

“The continued uncertainty the Biden administration is creating will directly undermine my member’s – fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism, as well as the 12 land owning Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms – ability to support Alaska’s public and private sector economy through responsible resource development.” – Executive Director Marleanna Hall, Resource Development Council

“The current IAP for NPR-A is a well-considered decision and is fully compliant with all applicable laws. Regulatory decisions must have predictability and they should not be subjected to the political whims of changing administrations. This decision, coupled with all the other forces trying to stop development, reiterates why it is more important than ever for the state to provide fiscal and regulatory certainty. The last thing the industry needs is more review, more taxes or more regulations.” – President and CEO Kara Moriarty, Alaska Oil and Gas Association

“The recent moves by the Biden administration to thwart resource development in Alaska are robbing us of opportunity – the opportunity to put more oil in the pipeline, the opportunity to create thousands of high-paying jobs and the opportunity to deposit billions of dollars in taxes and royalties into the state treasury. Alaskans should take this attack on our economy very seriously.” – CEO Rebecca Logan, The Alliance

“Americans need to ask themselves a question. Does the Biden administration believe that by stopping job creation and economic opportunity in Alaska that it will stop foreign actors from taking advantage of opportunities when they are pushed overseas? There is no doubt in my mind the Biden administration is focused on bringing Alaska to its economic knees, and would like nothing more than to take Alaska back into receivership under the U.S. Department of the Interior,” added Governor Dunleavy.