(JustPatriots.com)- President Joe Biden is taking action to cancel even more gas line projects in the United States, even as gas prices are soaring across the country.
On Tuesday, the Interior Department announced that the Biden administration was suspending all gas and oil leases that take place in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. This will happen until a further investigation is conducted regarding the environmental impacts that drilling is having in the region.
The action taken Tuesday isn’t much of a surprise, considering Biden pointed out in a January 20 executive order that he thought there were “alleged legal deficiencies” in the leasing program. At that time, a temporary moratorium was put in place on any activities related to either oil or gas within the refuge.
Biden’s executive order also made it possible that the department would eventually conduct a new review about the environmental impacts to the region, along with any legal flaws the program has.
Deb Haaland, the Interior Secretary, wrote in her secretarial order that called for the suspension that those legal deficiencies, “including the inadequacy of the environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act,” were what prompted the moratorium on the leases. The department plans to publish an intent to begin a review within the next two months.
Following the environmental analysis, it’s very possible that additional restrictions could be placed on any development within the refuge. It’s also possible that the leases could be nullified altogether, which would kill thousands of more jobs in the industry.
Many environmental groups believe that the Biden administration isn’t going far enough, though, in undoing some of former President Donald Trump’s signature plans. Those groups have filed lawsuits that seek to force the White House to void these leases that were awarded earlier in 2021.
Last week, Biden also didn’t go as far as the green groups wanted him to, when he said he supported the Willow project being conducted by ConocoPhillips in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. That area is just west of the ANWR.
Gas and oil development began in the Arctic Refuge under Trump’s signature 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill was drafted by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the embattled Republican who is now at odds with Trump.
The bill gave authority and power over the leasing part of the program to the Interior Secretary, who would act through the Bureau of Land Management. That left the Fish and Wildlife Service mainly on the sideline to play a marginal role in the process.
Environmental impact studies were conducted after and concluded in two years’ time under Trump. Then, the first lease was sold in the refuge on January 6 of this year. Then-Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said his department found the sale complied with all antitrust laws.
However, many groups believe that review was done in error. It only took the DOJ one day to review the lease from an antitrust perspective, and that normally takes at least six weeks to complete.
Now, the Biden administration is trying to use that fact to potentially undo the leases and kill more jobs in the gas and oil industries.