Bernhardt Signs Record of Decision to Begin Leasing Program in ANWR

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Washington, August 17, 2020 | Doug Levine (202-225-2315) | comments

Today, members of the Western Caucus released the following statements after Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed a Record of Decision approving the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.  

“Today’s announcement by Secretary Bernhardt is another step towards American energy independence. Oil and gas development in ANWR will not only help fuel our country, but also provide thousands of good-paying jobs for hard working Americans. The state of Alaska proves every day that developing its natural resources and protecting its environment go and hand in hand, this announcement will continue that long standing tradition. Today is a long day in the making and I thank Secretary Bernhardt and President Trump for their leadership on this issue,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04). 

“The American people deserve an all-of-the-above energy strategy that promotes safe and responsible energy exploration and development. I applaud the Trump Administration for approving the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Alaskans know first-hand how energy development can be an incredible asset to our economy by creating good-paying jobs and lowering costs for families and small businesses, all while strengthening our national security. This critical development keeps America on a strong path towards energy dominance and economic security, and I thank President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt for their continued support of a strong American energy policy,” said Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01). 

“Today’s announcement by Secretary Bernhardt approving drilling in ANWR fulfills legislation passed by Congress, and will strengthen America’s energy independence, bolster our economy, and enhance our national security. Unlocking the energy potential of the ANWR Coastal Plain has been supported by the people of Alaska for years because they understand that our fossil fuels are national treasures, and know the benefits that this will bring to their state and to the entire country. Today’s news is another promise kept by President Trump that will boost our country’s domestic energy production while also returning power to state and local officials where it belongs,” said House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-AL).   

“Today is a great day, not only for the State of Alaska, but also for American energy independence,” Young said. I have long fought to realize the original promise of ANILCA, which designated the 1002 Area of ANWR's Coastal Plain for responsible oil exploration. In Alaska, we have proven that protecting the environment, honoring our history, and developing our natural resources can go hand-in-hand. The ROD released today is a crucial milestone in our efforts to make the 1002 Area's vast oil reserves available for development. Thousands of Alaskans are employed in our oil industry, and their livelihoods depend on the good-paying jobs created by our state's reserves. Today, we are one step closer to securing a bright future for these Alaskans and their families. I want to thank President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt, and the countless others at the Department of the Interior for the important work they have done. As we approach the day where the first drilling rigs arrive and crude starts flowing, I will continue working with great excitement to ensure that Alaska is front and center as we blaze the trail toward American energy dominance," said Vice Chairman for Indian Affairs and Fisheries Don Young (AK-AL). 

“After decades of work from the Alaska delegation and leadership from President Trump, Congress mandated these lease sales to deliver energy to the nation and revenue to the Treasury. I thank Secretary Bernhardt and many others at the Department of the Interior for their tireless efforts to move this vision another step closer to reality,” said Chairman Emeritus Rob Bishop (UT-01). 

"Responsible oil and gas development in ANWR will not only create economic opportunity for the state of Alaska, but it will generate much-needed revenue for our country and strengthen our national security. Secretary Bernhardt's announcement today is welcomed by Alaskan communities and those across the country who support U.S. energy independence. My friend and colleague, Congressman Don Young, has been a tireless advocate for the Alaskan people and for our nation’s energy dominance. His strong leadership was crucial to getting us to this important day," said Vice Chairman for Departments of Energy and Interior Dan Newhouse (WA-04). 

“Today’s decision is a big step forward in solidifying American energy dominance. We have a responsibility to steward our resources well, and part of that stewardship involves sustainable energy production on public land. The ANWR leasing program is years in the making, and will give stakeholders clear guidance on accessing oil and natural gas. I applaud Secretary Bernhardt and the Trump administration for their initiative on this issue," said Vice Chairman for Infrastructure and Forestry Bruce Westerman (AR-04). 

“The Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is essential for America’s energy independent future. Crude oil from America will be far cleaner in its extraction and handling, and less expensive than any oil we could import from other countries. I was proud to vote for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 that authorized ANWR for oil and gas development, and look forward to the many benefits for our economy, national security, and environment that this program will create," said Vice Chairman for Agriculture and Chief Business Officer Doug LaMalfa (CA-01). 

"I applaud Secretary Bernhardt and the Trump administration for their continued work to increase American's energy security and independence. Environmentally responsible development of ANWR will create new, well-paying jobs, provide affordable, reliable energy to consumers while also providing much-needed revenue to both the State of Alaska and the federal government. Through the implementation of cutting-edge science, Alaska and Alaska natives can both protect their land and unlock their natural resources' vast economic potential," said Vice Chairman for Defense and Veterans Doug Lamborn (CO-05). 

“Congratulations to President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt, and my friends in the Alaska delegation on a major step towards American energy independence. We have the strongest environmental and labor standards in the world and accessing these reserves will provide high-paying jobs for Alaskans. Just like in my district, well-funded environmental interests seek to obstruct any responsible development. Signing the Record of Decision today signals a commitment to energy independence and American workers,” said Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08). 

“I applaud Secretary Bernhardt for implementing Congress’s vision to pursue energy independence and renew the American energy revolution. As an actual Arctic power, we must set an example for the rest of the world on how to responsibly develop energy resources while remaining stewards of the environment,” said Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01). 

“For decades, Alaska’s Congressional delegation and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have fought to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain to responsible oil and gas exploration. Today’s Record of Decision will further America’s energy independence, create jobs, and provide significant economic opportunity to the people of Alaska. I applaud the work of the Secretary Bernhardt and the Bureau of Land Management in their implementation of the ANWR Leasing provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and look forward to successful lease sales in this area," said Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42). 

“ANWR has an abundance of untapped energy potential and when we passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we required that energy be delivered to the American people while also bringing in revenue to the Treasury. This decision is an important step forward in American energy impendence. Millions of Americans rely on our energy industry for their livelihoods and to keep the lights on at a price they can afford. I applaud President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt for taking this action to help ensure the Unites States is not dependent on foreign oil to meet our energy needs," said Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02). 

“This is exciting and historic progress that we’re making in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for domestic oil and gas production. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that America must be as self-reliant as possible. Dependence on foreign adversaries for our oil supply is dangerous. It’s been a priority for President Trump and his Administration to make our country not only energy-independent, but energy-dominant. A strong America has a strong domestic fuel supply. This leasing program for oil and gas production in ANWR is a great step towards that goal. With domestic control over our oil production, we can ensure protection for the wildlife and land in ANWR while utilizing our own resources to lower the cost of energy for families across the country," said Congressman Kevin Hern (OK-01). 

“The implementation of the ANWR leasing program is a big win for American energy. This has been a long-fought issue, and I am proud to have supported the provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that made this possible. It is clear that expanded access to resource development on federal lands benefits the economy and the taxpayer. Many thanks to President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt for their dedication to this issue and for prioritizing job creation and American energy dominance, ” said Congressman Mike Johnson (LA-04). 

Background Courtesy of the Department of the Interior 

The leasing program is required by law in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-97), which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. The decision determines where and under what terms and conditions leasing will occur in the 1.56 million-acre Coastal Plain within the 19.3 million-acre ANWR.

The Act changes the purposes of ANWR management to include oil and gas development in a small but potentially energy rich area along the Arctic coast, directing the Secretary of the Interior to carry out an aggressive, competitive energy development program that could keep oil flowing in the nation’s energy artery, the 800 mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline, decades from now.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 directs the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to conduct at least two area-wide leasing sales, not less than 400,000 acres each, within the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Program area of ANWR. The lease sales must be held within seven years with the first lease sale taking place before December 22, 2021 and the second lease sale before December 22, 2024.  The Act also requires the Secretary of the Interior to grant rights-of-way and easements necessary for successful development of the oil and gas resources and authorize up to 2,000 surface acres, or .01 percent of ANWR’s 19.3 million acres, to be covered by production and support facilities.

A Press Release from DOI can be seen HERE
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