When President Biden took office, he promptly delivered on his campaign promise to address climate change by pausing new oil and gas leasing in federal waters until his Administration could review the leasing program.
The pause put the brakes on proposed federal Lease Sale 258, which had been rushed through in a matter of months by the Trump Administration and which was poised to offer-up more than a million acres of the wild, frontier waters of Lower Cook Inlet for new oil and gas leasing.
That didn’t sit well with Governor Mike Dunleavy and a dozen other Governors from oil-addicted states, who promptly filed suit in federal court to stop the leasing program review.
On April 27, Inletkeeper joined groups across the country to intervene in the states’ lawsuit, to defend the Biden Administration’s commonsense plan to take a closer look at federal oil and gas leasing practices.
Last year, federal managers shut-down the Pacific cod fishery in Lower Cook Inlet due to low population numbers caused by climate change, and it makes zero sense to aggravate the problem with more oil and gas drilling in the very same waters.
Cook Inlet boasts world-class renewable energy assets – including prolific tidal, wind and geothermal resources – which can drive a new economy with lasting jobs in Alaska around cleaner, modern development.
But instead, the Dunleavy Administration has chosen to double-down on a failed economic policy grounded in more oil and gas.
As the State of Alaska continues to grapple with historic budget shortfalls caused by its unhealthy reliance on fossil fuels, it’s time for a change.
And taking a hard look look at the federal oil and gas leasing program is a good first step.