Go Get ‘Em, AIDEA! Alaska Authority Sues Feds Over Lease Cancellations

Go Get ‘Em, AIDEA!  Alaska Authority Sues Feds Over Lease Cancellations

October 19, 2023

When Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, one of its provisions was the clear opening of the 10-02 section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) on Alaska’s North Slope.  Congress mandated two lease sales in the 10-02; one by the end of 2020 and one by 2024, where tracts of lands would be made available to explore and (hopefully) develop, adding to American energy production.

The first lease sale ultimately led to eleven tracts being put under contract, with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) being the winner and contracted entity of seven of them. 

When Joe Biden took office on January 20, 2021, one of his first official acts was to place a hold on any activities in ANWR, fulfilling a campaign promise he’d made to radical environmentalists during his run for the White House.  Four tracts were immediately returned to the government, as their owners realized the long fight ahead, but AIDEA held firm, refusing to give up the fight for Alaska jobs, domestic production opportunities and future state and federal revenues.

After months of waiting for the federal government to make its next formal move, the Bureau of Land Management shockingly cancelled those legal and binding leases, effectively telling AIDEA that they were no longer valid, because Congress had failed to address potential climate impacts during their deliberations on the matter.

Aside from the obvious overstepping of administrative authority –  the last time we checked, it was Congress who made laws and the executive branch who carried them out – cancelling the leases weakens U.S. energy security.

So we were excited to see AIDEA file suit against the BLM yesterday, alleging in the complaint that “[c]ancellation of the lease agreements eliminates AIDEA’s property rights in exploring and developing these leases and prevents all of the expected benefits that would have come from developing an oil and gas program on these lands, seriously harming AIDEA.”

We can’t agree any more strongly with AIDEA.  Team Biden’s actions will harm Alaska, the U.S. and our international status if left to stand.  We’ll continue to report as the suit unfolds, while aggressively advocating for American energy opportunities in Alaska and throughout the rest of the country.