Biden Reverses Trump Move To Open Up More Oil Drilling in Arctic
The Biden administration reversed a Trump administration plan that would have allowed the government to lease more than two-thirds of the country’s largest swath of public land to oil and gas drilling.
The Biden administration on 25 April reversed a Trump administration plan that would have allowed the government to lease more than two-thirds of the country’s largest swath of public land to oil and gas drilling.
The Bureau of Land Management’s decision will shrink the amount of land available for lease in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, a roughly 23-million-acre region that’s home to wildlife such as caribou and polar bears.
The decision returns to an Obama administration plan that allows fossil fuel extraction in up to 52% of the reserve, compared with the Trump administration’s effort to open up 82% of the land to drilling. It will also reinstate some environmental protections for designated areas of the reserve, including Teshekpuk Lake, a wetland complex that is uniquely rich with wildlife.
The move comes after the number of oil and gas permits approved by the Bureau of Land Management for drilling on public lands declined to its lowest number under the Biden administration earlier this year.
In 1923, former President Warren G. Harding set aside the reserve as an emergency oil supply for the US Navy. In 1976, the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act designated the area specifically for oil and gas production and moved it under the authority of the Bureau of Land Management.
The reserve generated more than $56 million in oil and gas lease revenue in 2019, according to the Bureau of Land Management.