PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to Biden Administration Canceling Alaska Oil and Gas Leases

Published June 2, 2021

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (June 2, 2021) – The Biden Administration announced Tuesday it has suspended the approval of oil and gas drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Donald Trump approved the leases late in his presidency, wanting to open up the land to oil and gas extraction after decades of legal fights and delays.

Biden’s Secretary of Interior, Deb Haaland, said the previous administration conducted “insufficient analysis” in its environmental review and also cited “multiple legal deficiencies” in Trump’s approval. President Biden has consistently said he is opposed to oil and gas production in the United States, banning fracking on federal land on his first day in office.

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 Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“By suspending these leases, Biden is defying a law duly passed by Congress in 2017 to finally – after more than 37 years of broken promises – allow oil and gas production on a limited, energy-rich portion of ANWR. This order would also void leases entered into in good faith by companies who complied with federal regulations and environmental impact analysis requirements of the U.S. Interior Department and other agencies under the Trump administration.

“Biden doesn’t care about the law, any more than he cares about America’s hard-won energy security and independence, high-paying union jobs, Alaskan natives, or the Alaskan or U.S. economy. For the Biden/Harris administration, all that matters is satisfying the rabid demands of radical environmentalists, East and West coast elites, that the United States cease ending fossil fuels.”

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


“In an era of rapidly rising energy costs since the Biden administration took office, this is just another example of the ‘tone-deafness’ towards the American people, who are caught up in soaring costs just to keep the family car running. With ANWR leases gone, the market will likely react with even higher gasoline prices based on fears of future shortages and possibly more restrictions.

“Not only that, this order may be illegal since the contracts have already been agreed to and signed. It boils down to this: Is the U.S. government as good as its word? With Biden in control, apparently not.”

Anthony Watts
Senior Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]