Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy has hit out at President Biden and his administration, stating that they prioritize Venezuela over Alaska, following a leaked memo revealing that the administration had set the highest possible royalty fee for an oil and gas lease sale in Alaska.
Despite acknowledging that a lower price would provide “greater energy security,” the administration still went ahead with the higher fee due to climate change concerns.
The memo caused backlash from Senator Joe Manchin, who accused the administration of pandering to environmental groups “at the expense of shoring up American energy security and keeping Americans safe.” Governor Dunleavy tweeted, “The war against AK & our people continues,” adding that “2024 can’t come soon enough.”
The Department of the Interior recommended higher royalty fees for the lease sale, which spanned 958,202 acres in the Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska.
The former Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton suggested that the government charge drillers with an 18.75% royalty fee, rather than an alternative 16.67% that would attract more bids and “be more likely to facilitate expeditious and orderly development of [offshore] resources.”
The administration ultimately went with Lefton’s recommendation due to climate change concerns. This decision has drawn criticism from the fossil fuel industry and Republican lawmakers, who argue that the administration is putting its radical climate agenda ahead of the needs of the people of Alaska and the United States.