Sullivan blasts Biden’s moves to restrict drilling and mining in Alaska as ‘national security suicide’

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska.) ripped into the Biden administration’s decision to restrict drilling on millions of acres of government-owned lands in Alaska, arguing it was a “lawless” move.

“It’s lawless. [President Biden] doesn’t have the authority to do that,” Sullivan said Sunday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.” “And I could go into all the laws that support me on that. It’s, as I say, national security suicide.”

The Biden administration announced last week it would block off oil and gas drilling on 13 million acres in the Western Arctic that are part of an area known as the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

The reserve, which spans 23 million acres, can be found in Alaska’s North Slope and was originally set aside in 1923 by President Harding as an emergency supply of oil for the Navy.

The administration also issued a document signaling it will deny approval for a posed industrial road, known as the Ambler Access Project, which would have spanned more than 200 miles, including federally owned land.

The road would have gone through northwestern Alaska wilderness toward deposits of copper and zinc, disturbing Ambler Metals’s efforts to mine there. The administration pointed to its finding that the road would significantly restrict activities for more than 30 Alaska Native communities.

Sullivan on Sunday argued the move is harmful to his constituents, but also should be concerning on a national level.

“National resources, energy-critical minerals, that’s an American strength. This should concern all kinds of Americans,” he said.

While the moves were met with praise from many environmental and tribal advocates, Sullivan argued some were not happy about the decision.

“When this president on Friday with [Interior Secretary Deb Haaland] announced that they did this because the Alaska Native, the indigenous people on the North Slope of Alaska, asked them to, they wanted them to, the leaders of the North Slope of Alaska were unanimous in opposition to this,” Sullivan said.

He claimed the indigenous people on the North Slope of Alaska wanted to meet with Haaland, who would not.

The Hill reached out to the Department of the Interior and White House for comment.

The Biden administration has a mixed record on energy and conservation issues in Alaska. Last year, it approved the Willow Project, greenlighting ConocoPhillips to drill in the state for about 30 years.

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