Murkowski Slams Interior Oil and Gas Report

Administration’s Proposals Will Cut Production, Raise Prices, Increase Imports

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today released the following statement criticizing the Department of the Interior’s “Report on the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Program,” which it issued the day after Thanksgiving after months of unexplained delay. The report, whose preparation was frequently used to justify the Biden administration’s illegal ban on oil and gas leasing, calls for higher royalties and other policy actions that would restrict access and make energy production less viable in federal areas.

“This report is exactly what we thought it would be: a series of preordained conclusions that are designed to end federal oil and gas production. President Biden campaigned on that, and his administration is now advancing what amounts to a death-by-a-thousand-cuts strategy to achieve it,” Murkowski said. “What is especially upsetting is that it took Interior 10 months to produce a document that is just 15 pages long, lacking any meaningful analysis, and that repeatedly misrepresents how development actually works. The policies it calls for won’t maximize returns for taxpayers or even reduce emissions—instead, they will hurt production in states like Alaska, further raise energy prices, and increase our nation’s import dependence. This won’t build back any barrels, but it is – yet again – music to OPEC+’s ears.”

Federal oil and gas production has fallen as a percentage of the U.S. total in recent years, while production on state and private lands has grown dramatically. Making the federal program less attractive than it already is will not reverse that dynamic. Nor will higher royalties, higher rental rates, the elimination of royalty relief, making fewer acres available for lease, or similar policies do anything to increase domestic energy security or lower energy prices.     

Murkowski today reiterated her call for congressional Democrats to drop the harmful resource provisions in their partisan budget reconciliation bill, which would codify several of the counterproductive actions called for by Interior while also going beyond them to target energy-producing states like Alaska.