(NationRise.com) – The Biden administration is facing another lawsuit after the sudden cancellation of oil and gas leases.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is suing the administration over a decision made by the Interior Department last month to cancel seven leases sold in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge region.
The state agency accuses the federal government of violating a mandate included in a tax bill from 2017. The Congressional mandate guarantees drilling in the region for leaseholders. The state spent several years lobbying for the right to drill in a small fraction of the area. It was finally approved during Trump’s presidency. They hope the US District Court will respond to the lawsuit by honoring the leases.
The region is believed to house nearly 12 billion barrels worth of oil. However, the lack of transportation infrastructure makes it difficult to set up drilling operations. That’s likely why most oil companies decided not to bid on the leases, allowing the state agency to win at a much lower cost than anticipated. Other reasons included political volatility. The region, dubbed the “North Slope,” is among America’s largest federal reservations.
The leases would likely help boost Alaska’s economy significantly, which already relies heavily on oil exports. The Interior Department claimed climate change and “serious flaws” in the 2017 decision as reasons for the cancellation. They didn’t comment further.
The decision comes just a year after Biden begged the Middle East for more oil while stifling domestic drilling amid soaring fuel prices. The administration also faced backlash for selling oil reserves to China amid increased foreign tensions and higher gas costs. Biden promised not to ask Saudi officials to boost production just two weeks prior.
Fuel prices are still high as the US heads into the holiday season. Predictions that fuel prices would decrease ahead of the fall never came true. However, they are still predicted to decrease over the next few weeks.
The Biden administration has faced a slew of lawsuits during its tenure from conservative and some blue states. Most relate to violations of states’ rights.
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