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The Biden administration has terminated several oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, authorized initially during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland emphasized the urgency to uphold environmental protection standards, stating, “With climate change warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, we must do everything within our control to protect this fragile ecosystem.”
Alaska’s Republican Senator, Dan Sullivan, sharply criticized the recent cancellation, articulating his concern over its potential hindrance to the state’s economic progression: “There is palpable anger and frustration among Alaskans about the Biden administration’s unrelenting assault on our economy and our ability to lawfully access our lands.” The original leaseholders, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), have yet to comment on the situation.
Environmental advocates celebrated the decision. Manish Bapna, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s president and CEO, remarked, “Public lands are a public trust. They must be part of the climate solution — not the problem.” He further highlighted the significance of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the nation’s largest wildlife haven, stressing the detrimental consequences of oil and gas drilling.