PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts Praise Opening of ANWR to Oil and Gas Drilling

Published August 17, 2020

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (August 17, 2020) – The Trump administration this on Monday announced that after decades of delays spanning several presidencies, oil and gas drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) will finally be approved. U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced in a conference call with reporters on Monday that the first drilling permits for ANWR could be issued before the end of 2020.

ANWR, consisting of 19 million acres in the northeast corner of Alaska, holds at least 10 billion barrels of oil. Opening a small portion of it to exploration and extraction has been supported by Alaska’s congressional delegation for decades, but has run into roadblocks since the mid-1970s.

The following statements from energy and environment experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Deputy Director of Communications Keely Drukala at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.


“The Trump administration is finally making good on the promise made by President Jimmy Carter, when he locked up millions of acres Alaska’s land as a federal wildlife refuge, to allow a small part of its coastal plain to be developed with appropriate environmental safeguards using the best available technologies. The Democratic-controlled Congress under Reagan refused to allow him to keep that promise, and subsequent Congresses and administrations have also repeatedly broken their word to the people of Alaska to allow limited development to take place.

“President Trump is now keeping this 40-year-old commitment, to the benefit of the nation and the world. Oil and gas prices won’t always be so low and resources so abundant. As the world economy picks up steam in the post-coronavirus recovery, oil and gas will remain the life-blood of economic progress, and the resources contained in the small portion of ANWR being opened up will help keep America energy independent, and provide energy for developing countries to prosper.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]


“At a time of massive financial insecurity and economic dislocation due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, it’s heartening to know that the Trump administration is taking steps in a safe and environmentally friendly manner to ensure that Americans will continue to have plenty of access to abundant and cheap sources of energy.

“Affordable energy is the key to productivity growth and the production of virtually all goods and services. For American families, spending less money on energy means saving more money to pay mortgages, rents, car payments, food and clothing, retirement funds, student loans, etc. There’s no reason this shouldn’t have been done 40 years ago, but better late than never.”

Tim Benson
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1984 and headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.