Interior secretary revokes Trump-era energy orders

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 10:03 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday revoked Trump administration orders that had promoted development of fossil fuels on federal land and water, including in Alaska.

“I believe we have a unique opportunity to make our communities more resilient to climate change,” Haaland said.

One of the orders Haaland revoked was designed to increase the potential of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“President Biden was clear that we must take a whole-of-government approach to tackle the climate crisis, strengthen the economy, and address environmental justice,” Haaland said, as she rolled back more than a dozen of her predecessor’s orders that promoted fossil fuel projects, including increased oil drilling in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.

The announcement brought mixed reactions from around Alaska.

“It shows the Biden Administration is shifting back to focusing on climate, protecting Alaska’s wildlife and fish, and listening to Alaskans more,” said Andy Moderow, state director for the Alaska Wilderness League. “Those are things the Trump Administration sidelined during his four years.”

Others are disappointed by the decision.

“Where it misses the mark is that we have some of the most socially responsible projects and opportunities in Alaska that can provide the means for energy security while employing Alaskans with family wage jobs,” said Marleanna Hall, executive director of the Alaska Resource Development Council. “People will continue to need these important energy resources, why not develop them responsibly right here in our state?”

The new directives impact future leases and fossil fuels. They do not affect current proposals that are under review.

The secretary also announced the creation of a new climate task force. It’s job will be to find faster ways to create renewable energy.

Friday’s announcements come ahead of a global summit on climate change President Biden will host next week.

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