Proposed DOI Rule Will Imperil Alaska North Slope Jobs, Gut Communities

Proposed DOI Rule Will Imperil Alaska North Slope Jobs, Gut Communities

April 12, 2024

13 million acres of federal lands off-limits to development of any kind.  Projects already underway possibly having their access routes shut down.  Untold jobs, revenues and resources stripped away by administrative order. All of it courtesy of the Biden Administration under new rules being handed down within days.

Those are the implications of the Department of Interior’s new proposed regulations – made public yesterday – involving the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.  Under the guise of saving the planet from a made-up climate crisis, the proposed plans would undercut development plans of some of the nation’s biggest potential fields.

Even more egregious, for an administration touting the importance of ‘indigenous knowledge and engagement’, the DOI developed the regulations without any consultation with Alaska’s North Slope-based Inupiat.  They live in the communities closest to the NRP-A, and openly support the projects, jobs, royalties, that responsible development of the area brings to the region.

Coupled with the proposed increase in fees for exploration projects on federal lands – also announced by DOI this week – bringing oil and gas to market from Alaska’s North Slope just got substantially harder and more expensive.

Alaska’s Congressional delegation reacted immediately.  U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan and U.S. Congresswoman Mary Peltola issued a press release that included a rebuke of the seemingly nefarious reason for the actions, saying:

“Instead of proper notice and robust consultation with those who stand tobe most impacted, the Department has ignored Alaskans, especially theAlaska Natives to live on the North Slope, despite numerous promises that Indigenous peoples will have a seat at the table in major decisions made by this administration.  A DOI official, Katie Kovacs, openly admitted during a recent NPR-A Working Group meeting that the Department set the timelinesfor this rule to avoid the Congressional Review Act – regardless of theconsequences for the public process.”

Listening to anti-development zealots and manipulating the calendar to avoid oversight are hallmarks of this Administration..  Alaska, America and the Inupiat people of the North Slope all deserve better than what the Biden administration is inflicting on us all.