Among New POTUS Decisions: Block Arctic Drilling Plans (Updated)

When President Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony wraps up, he plans to make a quick decision that will surely create a buzz in Alaska – likely pleasing and infuriating the state simultaneously. Now former President Trump’s approval to green light Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is expected to be blocked by the new POTUS. Here’s more from KTOO:

Joe Biden will sign an executive order imposing a “temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities” in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge upon taking office Wednesday, his transition team said in a statement.

The move to immediately slam the brakes on drilling in the refuge in northeast Alaska is among a long list of actions the new president will take Wednesday to undo his predecessor’s legacy.

The moratorium would come a day after the Trump administration announced, in its final moments, that it had finalized 10-year leases for oil drilling in the northernmost slice of the refuge, the coastal plain.

Update: Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has released a statement:

Here’s Dunleavy’s statement. It’s a doozy:

Today’s announcement to shut down development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) should come as no surprise. As a candidate Joe Biden campaigned on stopping oil and gas development on federal lands. Make no mistake about it, President Biden appears to be making good on his promise to turn Alaska into a large national park.   

Alaska does responsible oil and gas development in the Arctic better than anyone, and yet our economic future is at risk should this line of attack on our sovereignty and well-being continue. Development in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska, building roads to resources, the mining of critical minerals & rare earths, connection to life saving air transport for villagers in King Cove and more are all in the hands of an Administration that looks at Alaska as a territory or colony, as opposed to an equal State in the Union. 

During the 20 years I spent in rural Alaska, I saw firsthand the pain we cause when we deny our fellow Alaskans the right to pursue opportunity. Not only do these projects have the potential to responsibly develop Alaska’s abundant natural resources –  of which there is a demand that would be driven to countries with lower environmental standards – these projects bring good-paying jobs, quality healthcare, and lifechanging possibilities to communities who need it most.

I’m prepared to use every resource possible to fight for Alaskans right to have a job, and a future by taking advantage of every opportunity available to us.