Washington, D.C. – Tuesday, Alaska Congressman Don Young introduced the America Needs Worthwhile Resources (ANWR) Act. The ANWR Act comes in response to President Biden’s recent Executive Orders issuing a moratorium on oil and gas leasing on federal lands, including on the Coastal Plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The ANWR Act prohibits President Biden – or any future president – from issuing leasing moratoriums without congressional approval.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) into law. This landmark legislation secured over 100 million acres of protected land, while setting aside a small portion of the Coastal Plain for resource development. Following passage and enactment of 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, efforts to begin leasing began in earnest, leading up to the first successful lease sale in early 2021.
“It is not surprising, though no less disappointing, that President Biden is continuing Obama-era attacks against Alaska. By placing a moratorium on energy development in ANWR, President Biden has surrendered to his party’s environmental extremists. Very frankly, no president should have this unilateral power. Today, I am proud to introduce the ANWR Act, which reigns in executive overreach, and puts power back into the hands of the people through their elected representatives. I want the President to know this: Alaskans have shown for decades that energy development and environmental protection can go hand in hand. His executive actions serve only to hinder our state’s economy, stifle energy independence, and prevent the Alaska Native community of Kaktovik from responsibly using their lands,” said Congressman Young. “When President Carter signed ANILCA into law over 40 years ago, Alaskans were promised the right to drill on the Coastal Plain, and it is time to make good on this commitment. We have conducted an extensive environmental review and successfully carried out lease sales; everything has been done by the book and in accordance with the law. This is not the time to roll back our progress in ANWR, especially amid an economic downturn caused by a global pandemic. I want to thank Governor Dunleavy, AIDEA Chairman Dana Pruhs, Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation President Matthew Rexford, and my House colleagues for standing with our oil and gas workers by supporting this important effort.”
“No one knows better than Alaska how to responsibly develop oil and gas resources in the Arctic. ANWR is a resource rich region with the potential to create good-paying jobs, new revenues, and economic opportunity,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I fully support the ANWR Act and thank Congressman Young for his efforts to ensure Alaska is treated as an equal State in the Union, not a territory or colony.”
“I want to thank Congressman Don Young for his continued efforts to support Alaska’s energy sector,” said Dana Pruhs, Chairman of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). “The America Needs Worthwhile Resources Act is a significant step forward for securing the progress we have made in the area of energy exploration and responsible resource development in the Arctic. For Alaska’s rural and remote communities, the creation of local jobs and the public funding from taxes on oil and gas infrastructure are an economic lifeline. Alaska’s oil and gas industry supports countless good-paying jobs and this bill will help protect these workers from short-sighted development moratoriums. I call on Congress to bring the bill to a vote so that we can better defend our energy industry and secure a bright future for Alaskans and all Americans for years to come.”
“Our community had been waiting since the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to realize the economic freedoms promised to us as indigenous people. My community of Kaktovik is the only village located within the Coastal Plain area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and we have long been supporters of oil and gas exploration in the area,” said Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation President Matthew Rexford. “It wasn’t until the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that we were finally able to realize our vision of providing the local jobs and business contemplated by ANCSA only to find ourselves again threatened under the Biden Administration. Thank you, Congressman Young, for helping us keep our vision alive to hopefully provide for our children and grandchildren. Thank you for remembering the Kaktovikmiut!”
“As President Biden continues his war on fossil fuels, it’s important that we have science-based, America-first solutions here in Congress. Mr. Young has been here longer than anyone and knows the intricacies of energy development in Alaska, how it affects wildlife and local tribes, why it’s so important, and how to carry it out safely. That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor his legislation preventing this administration from imposing an energy leasing moratorium in ANWR without congressional approval. Decisions regarding our energy security shouldn’t be reactionary, and it’s unfortunate that President Biden has chosen to make knee-jerk policies without a plan in place. America leads the world in responsible energy development. I hope my Democrat colleagues will let us keep it that way,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
“Land management decisions should be left up to the communities that are most impacted, especially when these decisions are so critical in our nation’s continued mission toward energy dominance,” said Congressman Dan Newhouse, Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus. “In the case of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the communities of Alaska have spoken: They support the energy development and economic benefits that come with responsible use of this resource-rich region. Congressman Young is a champion for locally-led land management, especially when it comes to the ANWR, which has undergone years of environmental reviews and permitting at all levels of government. No President should be able to revoke its development with a flick of a pen.”
“President Biden’s moratorium on energy development is detrimental to not only the local Alaskan economy but to American energy independence as well. Alaska has shown time and time again that it can develop our nation’s energy resources without harming the local wildlife or ecosystem,” said Congressman Doug Lamborn. “The federal government should never force regulations on land thousands of miles away from Washington, D.C. I am grateful for the leadership of Representative Young on this issue.”
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said, “Putting America first starts with energy security and responsibly developing our resources. Having some of the world’s largest oil reserves, there is no reason why the United States should increase our dependence on hostile countries for our energy needs. Alaska’s bold energy leadership has demonstrated that energy development and environmental conservation are not mutually exclusive. I will continue to champion policies that promote community leadership, environmental responsibility, and American energy production.”
“In 2019, our country became a net exporter of oil and gas for the first time since record keeping began, but the administration wants to destroy this enormous achievement. Bills like this one will help us protect that success, and ensure that those who put food the table for their families with oil and gas jobs will be able to continue to do so,” said Congressman Matt Rosendale.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the Biden Administration has placed an energy moratorium in ANWR, yet another step to kill high-wage energy jobs and limit access to a secure and stable oil supply. Since his first day in office, President Biden has sustained a consistent attack on jobs, energy, and our way of life,” said Congressman Pete Stauber. “The jobs of Alaskans should never be based on the whim of one politician and the unelected bureaucrats in his Administration, so I support the ANWR Act and applaud Representative Young for his efforts to carry on Alaska’s strong legacy of responsible resource development.”