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Biden Helps Iran, Hits Alaska – Dan Sullivan / WSJ

The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Photo: David W. Houseknecht/Associated Press
His administration gives Tehran a free hand to export oil while shutting down domestic development. The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Photo: David W. Houseknecht/Associated Press

By Dan Sullivan

We are living in one of the most dangerous times since World War II, as Beijing, Moscow and Tehran attempt to undermine the free world. Yet rather than maximize our nation’s strengths and weaken our adversaries, the Biden administration is doing the opposite.

Consider its policy on Iran. Under sanctions pressure from the Trump administration, Iranian oil exports in 2020 were at about 200,000 barrels a day, leaving Tehran with about $4 billion in foreign reserves, a small pool relative to the country’s size. In an effort to appease the mullahs, however, the Biden administration hasn’t enforced comprehensive sanctions since 2021. As a result, Iranian oil exports today are at nearly 1.6 million barrels a day and its regime has been enriched by more than $70 billion. Iran uses this windfall in part to fund its terrorist proxies, including the Houthis, Hamas and Hezbollah. Iranian oil development also allows the regime to deepen its ties with China, which buys about 80% of Iran’s oil exports.

Meantime the Biden administration is doing the reverse at home—weakening America’s domestic energy production by restricting development on two important sites, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and Alaska’s Ambler Mining District.

The White House announced Friday that it will take more than 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska off the table for development. President Warren Harding in 1923 set aside this petroleum reserve—an area roughly the size of Indiana—for oil production to boost U.S. national security. Considered one of the world’s most prolific energy basins, the site contains an estimated 17 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It’s also close to existing oil pipeline infrastructure and produces energy with some of the highest environmental standards in the world.

The administration is also blocking a previously permitted road-building project in the Ambler Mining District, a move that will effectively put the region off-limits to mining. The site is one of the most extensive sources of undeveloped zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver in the world. America needs such minerals for our renewable energy sector and our national security.

These measures are suicidal—and lawless. In 1980 Congress directed the interior secretary to “conduct an expeditious program of competitive leasing” in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The Biden administration is dramatically reinterpreting this law so it can treat those 13 million acres it is locking up as de facto federal wilderness.

The decision, ironically, ignores the desires of many in the Alaska Native community. Elected indigenous leaders from the North Slope of Alaska eight times have requested a meeting with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to express their opposition to the administration’s new rule. Each time, they’ve been denied. It seems that the Biden administration listens to people of color and indigenous communities only if they align with the administration’s extreme antidevelopment policies.

As for the Ambler Mining District, federal law guarantees a right of way across federal land to provide access to the mining district. The administration is ignoring this law by shutting down the access road project.

The Biden administration is effectively imposing sanctions on Alaskans, stripping away my constituents’ jobs and hurting my state’s economy. But the damage to U.S. national security will be even greater, as the White House announces to our adversaries: We won’t use our resources, but we’ll let you develop yours. No wonder authoritarians are on the march.

I’ll never forget a meeting I had in 2016 with the late Sen. John McCain and Vladimir Kara-Murza, a brave Russian dissident whom Vladimir Putin has poisoned twice and who now resides in prison facing a potential 25-year sentence. When I asked Mr. Kara-Murza what the U.S. could do to undermine Mr. Putin and other authoritarians, his answer was striking: “It’s easy, senator. The No. 1 thing you can do is produce more American energy.”

The president is evidently content to shut down our energy sector to appease left-wing environmentalists—while ceding the market to our foes. He proceeds at the nation’s peril.

_________________________________________

Dan Sullivan, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Alaska. EnergiesNet.com does not necessarily share these views.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), on April 24, 2024. All comments posted and published on EnergiesNet or Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of EnergiesNet or Petroleumworld.

Original article

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EnergiesNet.com 03 24 2024

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