Alaska: Dawn of a New Era or Twilight Time?

In Home, News by wp_sysadmin

Today’s Key Takeaways:   While former President Donald Trump promises to restart oil drilling in ANWR – “anarchists and nuts” call for phasedown of Alaska’s pipeline and shutdown of Alaska’s economy.

Trump Says He’ll Restart Oil Drilling in Alaska Wildlife Refuge – BNN Bloomberg
Ari Natter, Bloomberg BNN News, June 13, 2024

Donald Trump told Senate Republicans Thursday he would restart oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, reversing a move by the Biden administration to cancel leases in the frozen wilderness.

“He said, ‘We’ll get back to that,’” Senator Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, told reporters after emerging from a closed-door meeting with Trump and other Republican senators. “He opened it up, and Biden closed it down, and he said when we get back, we’ll get it back open.”

Congress under Trump lifted a 40-year-old ban on energy development in the refuge in 2017, mandating lease sales in an area long prized for its oil and gas potential but also for its rich habitat, home to waterfowl, caribou, polar bears, and other wildlife. 

President Joe Biden suspended those sales, and his administration last year began taking steps to thwart oil development the region, canceling drilling leases sold in 2021 and placing more than half of the nearby National Petroleum Reserve off-limits to exploration.

Trump’s remarks, which came during his first Washington visit since his criminal conviction in New York last month, follow a day of meetings around the Hill as election season kicks into high gear. The former president earlier told House Republicans he planned to do away with Biden’s policies promoting electric vehicles. 

Trump, during his meeting at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, spoke about the role of energy in inflation, saying “energy prices remain high because we keep supply in the ground,” Cramer said.

“He talked a lot about us having more oil than Saudi Arabia and that we should get back to open production,” Cramer said. 

Environmentalists urge US to plan ‘phasedown’ of TAPS and Shutdown Alaska’s Economy
Becky Bohrer, AP, June 12, 2024

Environmental groups on Wednesday petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior to review climate impacts related to the decades-old trans-Alaska pipeline system and develop a plan for a “managed phasedown” of the 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) pipeline, which is Alaska’s economic lifeline.

The request comes more than a year after the Biden administration approved the massive Willow oil project on Alaska’s petroleum-rich North Slope, a decision that was welcomed by Alaska political leaders seeking to stem a trend of declining oil production in the state and by many Alaska Native leaders in the region who see the project as economically vital for their communities. Willow, which is being developed by ConocoPhillips Alaska, could produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day.

Some of the groups who filed the petition, including the Center for Biological Diversity and Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, are among those who have asked an appeals court to overturn the approval of Willow. A decision is pending.