The Biden administration suspended oil drilling leases in ANWR. The formal order from Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland, if unsurprising, starts what will likely be a lengthy process to undo one of the Trump administration’s biggest (anti-)environmental actions. Haaland said a preliminary review found “multiple legal deficiencies” in the Trump administration’s efforts to sell oil and gas leases in the vast and pristine refuge that serves as critical habitat for hundreds of thousands of migrating caribou, waterfowl, and polar bears. The sale of ANWR leases, described as “absolutely bonkers” by climate advocates at the time it was announced last year, culminated in a hurried and ultimately underwhelming lease sale just days before Trump left office. Those existing ANWR leases could be canceled if the administration determines they were granted illegally by the Trump administration; the Biden administration has defended the legal process by which the Trump administration issues leases elsewhere.
Last month, the notoriously pro-oil IEA said all new exploration for oil and gas must end immediately if the world is to limit global warming and avoid the worst and most destructive impacts of climate change. (Washington Post $, New York Times $, Axios, AP, Alaska Public Media, Anchorage Daily News, BBC, Reuters, NPR, Rolling Stone, UPI, Wall Street Journal $, Al Jazeera, The Verge, NBC, Politico, CNN)