After the Willow Project in Alaska, President Biden is now cracking down on offshore drilling. His latest notification in a series of aggressive halts in offshore drilling projects happened September 6, with him blocking the drilling across millions of acres of Alaskan tundra. Over the past several months, the administration has put forth their efforts to bar drilling in multiple states and regions—1.8 million acres of the sagebrush in Wyoming, and 1 million acres of public land in Colorado. The admin has also stopped new mining and drilling claims for the next 20 years on more than 336,400 acres of public land around the Chao Culture National Historical Park. To top it all off, last month [August] the admin stated that they will pull out of any upcoming federal sales in the Gulf of Mexico pertaining to the 6 million oil-rich acres that cover the coast.
The Interior Department has raised royalties on fossil fuel companies that they now must pay to pull oil, gas, and coal from any public land, this is the first time a policy similar to this has been seen since the 1920s. Also in tandem, the ID is increasing the cost of bonds companies must pay in order to start a project. The Bureau of Land Management also wants to re-manage the 245 million acres by allowing conservation leases, which are allegedly used for restoration and mitigation.
Many energy experts and analysts, and members of the public are starting to say that this new revelation is an attempt to boost ratings for the upcoming election. As seen as a reach to reestablish green credentials in the early stages of campaigning. But whether or not these efforts have an underlying political agenda, these efforts are still halting and decommissioning various drilling and mining projects that would cause harm to those areas. So it can be seen as a positive take either way. Another side of opposition are those in favor of using Alaska’s resources, such as Senator Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski believes that by prohibiting these activities and regulating the projects that do commence, is an irresponsible way to view Alaska’s resources, as well as neglecting to consult the Alaska natives.
The conversation of oil-based projects is a complicated one, as both sides deem these projects both positive and negative for different reasons. On one side, Alaska natives and residents should be allowed to use their resources, especially in dire times, but on the other hand any drilling or mining project can bring environmental devastation to any region they are stationed in.