Alaska sues to challenge new NPR-A oil and gas leasing rules

(Reuters) – The state of Alaska on Wednesday said it has filed a lawsuit challenging new federal regulations imposed for oil and gas leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

In April, President Joe Biden’s administration took steps to limit both oil and gas drilling and mining in Alaska.

The regulations blocked development on 40% of NPR-A to protect wildlife habitat and indigenous communities’ way of life, but did not affect existing oil and gas operations.

“The new rules were passed without proper input from affected parties, exceeded their congressional authorization and were rushed into place as an end-run on congressional oversight,” the state of Alaska said in a statement.

The NPR-A, as it is known, is a 23 million-acre (9.3 million hectare) area on the state’s North Slope that is the largest tract of undisturbed public land in the United States.

“This lawsuit seeks to prevent overreach by federal agencies that disregard Alaska’s rights”, Alaskan Attorney General Treg Taylor said.

Alaska said it had sought to participate in the rulemaking process, submitted thoughtful comments and requested additional time to prepare comments. However, it claims that the “rules were passed in haste to beat a potential change in congressional oversight”.

Earlier on Tuesday, Alaska sued the federal government seeking to recover revenues it lost out on after the Biden administration canceled oil and gas drilling leases in the 19.6 million-acre (7.9 million-hectare) federal Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

(Reporting by Nilutpal Timsina in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul)

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