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President Joe Biden will issue a “temporary moratorium” on all oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR area, Biden’s transition team said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement comes a day after President Trump’s finalized 10-year Arctic drilling leases on nearly 400,000 acres in Alaska’s ANWR—an action he took on his last day in office.
In a rather garish tit-for-tat between the former and current President of the United States that the founding fathers likely did not envision, the two leaders appear to be doing and undoing each other’s executive actions—with the oil industry caught in the middle.
Unfortunately for Trump’s actions that granted hundreds of thousands of acres for drilling, leaseholders would still need to get permits from the Biden Administration before they can drill.
And it would appear from today’s statement that those leases are unlikely to come.
But this fight between Presidents holds mostly symbolic meaning, rather than practical meaning for the oil industry.
The three leaseholders, who won the rights in a recent—and unimpressive—auction, are the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and two smaller companies, Knik Arm Services LLC and Regenerate Alaska Inc.
While the Trump Administration boasted in its win leading up to the lease sale, the results of the auction were disappointing, with no major players taking an interest.
President Biden’s sparring with President Trump over the oil industry has so far included the Keystone XL pipeline project, the ANWR drilling rights, the Paris Climate Agreement, and banning oil and gas drilling on all federal land. Unlike the ANWR issue, Biden’s promise to disallow the Keystone XL pipeline will hurt.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.