In what appears to be an effort to appease eco-warriors, the Biden administration announced late Sunday that it is indefinitely blocking 16 million acres of federal land and water in Alaska from future oil drilling.
The move comes ahead of an expected announcement Monday of the approval for three of five drilling sites for the Willow Project, a 30-year-old oil project proposed by energy company ConocoPhillips, according to Fox News.
“The Department of Interior (DOI) said it had initiated a rulemaking process to ‘establish maximum protection’ for 13 million acres of land across the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR), an area in North Slope Borough, Alaska, set aside by Congress for resource development,” the network reported. “In addition, President Biden ordered an additional 2.8 million of acres to be withdrawn from oil and gas leasing in the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska.”
It remains to be seen whether the ban, which includes the vast section of the Arctic Ocean owned by the federal government, will “soften the blow” for climate activists — history says it will not.
“With these actions, President Biden continues to deliver on the most aggressive climate agenda in American history,” the Interior Dept. said in a statement. “He has made the United States a magnet for clean energy manufacturing and jobs. He secured record investments in climate resilience and environmental justice.”
“And his economic agenda has put the United States back on track to reach its climate goals for 2030 and 2050, all while reducing America’s reliance on oil and protecting American families from the impact of Putin’s war on global energy markets,” the statement added.
A former senior Bureau of Land Management official who was not named described the decision as “pandering.”
“It’s a totally political decision, it’s not based on science, it’s not based on climate change, it’s not based on biological resources,” the former official told Fox News. “They’re pandering solely for political purposes and not paying attention to the science.”
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