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Alaska lawmakers react to President Biden’s ANWR executive order

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 4:05 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Alaska lawmakers are sharing their reactions to an executive order concerning leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The order, signed by President Joe Biden in his first day in office, seeks to put a temporary moratorium on oil and gas development in the refuge’s coastal plain region.

In a press release, Governor Mike Dunleavy said Alaska’s “economic future is at risk should this line of attack on our sovereignty and well-being continue.”

Meanwhile, Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young released a joint statement decrying the order and avowing that “Alaska has a strong record of responsible resource development.”

Niel Lawrence, Senior Attorney and Alaska Director for the Natural Resource Defense Council called the executive order appropriate, saying that oil and gas is not a sustainable future for a state’s economy.

“Oil and gas is not a really long-term sustainable future for a state’s budget and its economy. And this is somewhat tough news for the state of Alaska, but I think what we’re seeing now is a pretty strong signal. It’s a reality check about the need to build the economy and the budget of this state on something with a longer-term future than continuing to develop oil and gas,” he said.

After an environmental review completed in September of 2019, the Trump administration’s Department of the Interior decided to move forward with its leasing program in August of last year, according to Lawrence. President Biden’s executive order halts that program.

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