President Joe Biden has decided to suspend the leases of oil and gas drilling in Arctic areas of Alaska.
“In light of alleged legal deficiencies (…), including the inadequacy of the review required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall, as appropriate and in accordance with law, place a temporary moratorium on all Government activities related to the implementation of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, (…) in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”
The order was issued on Tuesday by the Interior Department on an issue that has pitted Democrats and Republicans against each other for four decades and could end up in court.
The Trump administration auctioned off the right to drill on the refuge’s coastal plain, while the new Democratic administration has decided to issue this order to block the leases, citing problems with the environmental review process.
According to the order, there will now be “a new, comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental impacts of the oil and gas program.”
The “review of Coastal Plain’s Oil and Gas Leasing Program (…) has identified multiple legal deficiencies” the regulation insists, including a failure to adequately analyze a reasonable range of requirements set forth by environmental legislation.
The regulation issued by Interior’s Deb Haaland calls for a temporary moratorium on all activities related to these leases in order to conduct “a full reanalysis of the potential environmental impacts of the oil and gas program.”