Arctic Drilling

Aly Spence, Staff Writer

Since 1977, there has been a controversy brewing about deciding whether or not to drill for oil in certain regions of Alaska. Republicans have pushed this deal, attempting nearly 50 times to have it passed. The reason that this deal has been so controversial is because many scientists and environmental groups claim that drilling in these arctic regions will bring harm to the environment in ways that negatively affect future generations.

In 2017, a Republican-dominated congress finally managed to pass a plan to start selling leases for oil drilling in certain areas of Alaska. This was very exciting for the Trump administration as they had pushed this. But when leases were finally beginning to be sold at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the Trump administration found themselves scrambling to get it done before Biden’s inauguration. Due to President Biden’s negative view on these deals, the Trump administration acknowledged that they needed to have this deal finished unless they wanted all of their work to be undone by the new administration. 

Unfortunately for them, this is exactly what happened, and just one day after Trump’s administration announced they had finalized plans for this act. One of Biden’s first acts as president was to undo the oil drilling act. He enacted a “temporary moratorium” on the act. This means that the act will be suspended until “further consideration” lifts the suspension. Biden said that the effects on the environment will be reevaluated. With this in mind, it’s unlikely that oil drilling leases in Alaska will be sold anytime soon. 

But President Joe Biden is not the only person who has issues with this. Various environmental groups have expressed dislike of the plan and even gone as far as to sue.

The push and pull of this deal seems to come down to a decades-old debate, economy versus the environment.