Conservative groups claim that Mr. Biden’s suspension of the leases may be illegal. “The government can not sign a contract to take over $ 14 million and then declare the contract invalid,” said Devin Watkins, a lawyer for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an organization that worked with the Trump administration. said to protect the environment. . “No reason for the cancellation of the ANWR leases was provided.”
Policy experts also noted that any actions by Mr. Praying to block the North Pole drill could be undone by a future government.
“Since the Carter administration, or ANWR can be hired, it is determined by which party is in the White House,” said Marcella Burke, an energy policy advocate who served in the Department of the Interior during the Trump administration. ‘Developers in ANWR assume that there will be a policy shift between Democratic and Republican governments. But this is not permanent, assuming that one day there will be another party in the White House. ‘
Environmental groups welcomed the move, but called for a permanent ban on drilling of the North Pole.
“Until the leases are canceled, it will remain a threat to one of the wildest places left in America,” said Kristen Miller, acting director of the Alaska Wilderness League. “Now we look forward to the government and Congress giving priority to revoking the oil lease mandate and restoring protection of the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain.”
The refuge, 19 million acres in the northeastern part of the state, has long been outside the development of oil and gas, with Democrats, environmentalists and some Native Alaska groups successfully fighting to open it.
But President Donald J. Trump has opened up a portion of it, about 1.5 million acres along Prudhoe Bay, known as the Coastal Plain, a core of his push to develop more local fossil fuel production.
In 2017, the Congress incorporated language into a tax bill that set out a rental program as a way to generate revenue for the federal government. But an environmental survey, required by federal law, was only completed last year.