[House Report 118-463]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


118th Congress }                                             {     Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session    }                                             {    118-463

======================================================================



 
                 ALASKA'S RIGHT TO PRODUCE ACT OF 2023

                                _______
                                

 April 15, 2024.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Westerman, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 6285]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 6285) to ratify and approve all authorizations, 
permits, verifications, extensions, biological opinions, 
incidental take statements, and any other approvals or orders 
issued pursuant to Federal law necessary for the establishment 
and administration of the Coastal Plain oil and gas leasing 
program, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that 
the bill as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Alaska's Right to Produce Act of 
2023''.

SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS.

  Congress finds that--
          (1) Congress provided clear authorization and direction that 
        the Secretary of the Interior ``shall establish and administer 
        a competitive oil and gas program for the leasing, development, 
        production, and transportation of oil and gas in and from the 
        Coastal Plain'' in section 20001 of Public Law 115-97 (16 
        U.S.C. 3143 note) (commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs 
        Act);
          (2) the timely administration of the Coastal Plain Oil and 
        Gas Leasing Program is required and in the national and public 
        interest;
          (3) the Department of the Interior's cancelling of the leases 
        for the covered Coastal Plain lease tracts represents a major 
        decision of economic and political significance that Congress 
        did not delegate to the Secretary;
          (4) the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976 (42 
        U.S.C. 6501 et seq.) requires that the Bureau of Land 
        Management--
                  (A) allow for the exploration, development, and 
                production of petroleum products in the National 
                Petroleum Reserve in Alaska; and
                  (B) balance, to the extent consistent with that Act, 
                the protection of ecological and cultural values in the 
                National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska; and
          (5) the proposed rule of the Bureau of Land Management 
        entitled ``Management and Protection of the National Petroleum 
        Reserve in Alaska'' (88 Fed. Reg. 62025 (September 8, 2023)) 
        fails to reflect the intent of Congress for the Naval Petroleum 
        Reserves Production Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.).

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Coastal plain.--The term ``Coastal Plain'' has the 
        meaning given the term in section 20001(a) of Public Law 115-97 
        (16 U.S.C. 3143 note).
          (2) Coastal plain oil and gas leasing program.--The term 
        ``Coastal Plain oil and gas leasing program'' means the program 
        established under section 20001(b)(2)(A) of Public Law 115-97 
        (16 U.S.C. 3143 note).
          (3) Covered coastal plain lease tract.--The term ``covered 
        Coastal Plain lease tract'' means any of tracts 16, 17, 24, 26, 
        27, and 30 as listed in exhibit B of the document published by 
        the Bureau of Land Management entitled ``Amendment to the 
        Detailed Statement of Sale'' and dated December 18, 2020 
        (relating to oil and gas leasing within the Coastal Plain 
        Alaska).
          (4) Record of decision.--The term ``Record of Decision'' 
        means the record of decision described in the notice of 
        availability of the Bureau of Land Management entitled ``Notice 
        of Availability of the Record of Decision for the Final 
        Environmental Impact Statement for the Coastal Plain Oil and 
        Gas Leasing Program, Alaska'' (85 Fed. Reg. 51754 (August 21, 
        2020)).
          (5) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of 
        the Interior.

SEC. 4. CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL OF ORDERS.

  (a) Moratorium on Oil and Gas Leasing.--Any order or action by the 
President or the Secretary that has the effect of placing a moratorium 
on or otherwise suspending or pausing oil and gas leasing in the 
Coastal Plain shall have no force or effect.
  (b) Approval and Ratification of Existing Documentation and 
Authorizations.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, Congress--
          (1) ratifies and approves all authorizations, permits, 
        verifications, extensions, biological opinions, incidental take 
        statements, and any other approvals or orders issued pursuant 
        to Federal law, as described in the Record of Decision, 
        necessary for the establishment and administration of the 
        Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program; and
          (2) directs the Secretary, the Administrator of the 
        Environmental Protection Agency, and the heads of other as 
        applicable Federal departments and agencies to process, 
        reinstate, or continue to maintain such authorizations, 
        permits, verifications, extensions, biological opinions, 
        incidental take statements, and any other approvals or orders 
        described in paragraph (1).
  (c) Applicability of Other Law.--Notwithstanding any other provision 
of law, the authorizations, permits, verifications, extensions, 
biological opinions, incidental take statements, and any other 
approvals or orders described in subsection (b)(1) shall be considered 
to satisfy the requirements of--
          (1) section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands 
        Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3142);
          (2) section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy 
        Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c));
          (3) section 20001 of Public Law 115-97 (16 U.S.C. 3143 note);
          (4) the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
        seq.); and
          (5) subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States 
        Code, and chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 5. COASTAL PLAIN OIL AND GAS LEASING PROGRAM.

  (a) Reissuance of Canceled Leases.--
          (1) Acceptance of bids.--Not later than 30 days after the 
        date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall, without 
        modification or delay--
                  (A) accept the highest valid bid for each covered 
                Coastal Plain lease tract for which a valid bid was 
                received on January 6, 2021, pursuant to the 
                requirement to hold the first lease sale in the Coastal 
                Plain oil and gas leasing program; and
                  (B) provide the appropriate lease form to each 
                winning bidder under subparagraph (A) to execute and 
                return to the Secretary.
          (2) Lease issuance.--On receipt of an executed lease form 
        under paragraph (1)(B) and payment in accordance with that 
        lease of the rental for the first year, the balance of the 
        bonus bid (unless deferred), and any required bond or security 
        from the high bidder, the Secretary shall promptly issue to the 
        high bidder a fully executed lease, in accordance with--
                  (A) the applicable regulations, as in effect on 
                January 6, 2021; and
                  (B) the terms and conditions of the Record of 
                Decision.
  (b) Requirement for Future Leases.--
          (1) Second lease sale.--Not later than December 22, 2024, the 
        Secretary shall conduct the second lease sale required by 
        section 20001(c)(1)(B)(ii)(II) of Public Law 115-97 (16 U.S.C. 
        3143 note) in accordance with the Record of Decision.
          (2) Exceptions for canceling a lease.--Notwithstanding any 
        other provision of law, the President and the Secretary may not 
        cancel a lease issued under the Coastal Plain oil and gas 
        leasing program if the Secretary has previously opened bids for 
        such a lease or disclosed the high bidder for any tract that 
        was included in a lease sale under the Coastal Plain oil and 
        gas leasing program unless the lessee is in violation of the 
        terms of the lease and fails to cure the violation after a 
        reasonable period of time.
  (c) Applicability of Prior Record of Decision.--Notwithstanding any 
other provision of law and with respect to reissuing leases under 
subsection (a), the Record of Decision shall be considered to satisfy 
the requirements of--
          (1) section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands 
        Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3142);
          (2) section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy 
        Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c));
          (3) section 20001 of Public Law 115-97 (16 U.S.C. 3143 note);
          (4) the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-205; 16 
        U.S.C. 1533); and
          (5) subchapter II of chapter 5 of title 5, United States 
        Code, and chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code.
  (d) Withdrawal of Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.--The 
Director of the Bureau of Land Management--
          (1) shall withdraw the notice of availability entitled 
        ``Notice of Availability of the Draft Coastal Plain Oil and Gas 
        Leasing Program Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement'' 
        (88 Fed. Reg. 62104 (September 8, 2023)); and
          (2) may not take any action to finalize, implement, or 
        enforce the supplemental environmental impact statement 
        described in paragraph (1).
  (e) Judicial Review.--
          (1) Judicial preclusion.--Notwithstanding any other provision 
        of law and except as provided in paragraph (2), no court shall 
        have jurisdiction to review any action taken by the Secretary, 
        the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, a 
        State administrative agency, an Indian Tribe, or any other 
        Federal agency acting pursuant to Federal law that grants an 
        authorization, permit, verification, biological opinion, 
        incidental take statement, or other approval described in 
        section 4(b) for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, 
        whether issued prior to, on, or after the date of enactment of 
        this Act, and including any lawsuit or any other action pending 
        in a court as of the date of enactment of this Act.
          (2) Forum exclusivity.--The United States Court of Appeals 
        for the District of Columbia Circuit shall have original and 
        exclusive jurisdiction over any claim regarding--
                  (A) the validity of this section; or
                  (B) the scope of authority conferred by this section.
          (3) Right to petition.--
                  (A) In general.--Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a 
                lease holder may obtain a review of an alleged failure 
                by an agency to act in accordance with section 20001 of 
                Public Law 115-97 (16 U.S.C. 3143 note) or with any law 
                pertaining to the grant of an authorization, permit, 
                verification, biological opinion, incidental take 
                statement, or other approval related to the lease 
                holder's lease by filing a written petition with a 
                court of competent jurisdiction seeking an order under 
                subparagraph (B).
                  (B) Deadlines.--If a court of competent jurisdiction 
                finds that an agency has failed to act in accordance 
                with section 20001 of Public Law 115-97 (16 U.S.C. 3143 
                note) or with any law pertaining to the grant of an 
                authorization, permit, verification, biological 
                opinion, incidental take statement, or other approval 
                related to the lease holder's lease, the court shall 
                set a schedule and deadline for the agency to act as 
                soon as practicable, which shall not exceed 90 days 
                from the date on which the order of the court is 
                issued, unless the court determines a longer time 
                period is necessary to comply with applicable law.

SEC. 6. NULLIFICATION OF CERTAIN FEDERAL AGENCY ACTIONS.

  (a) NPRA Rule.--The Secretary, acting through the Director of the 
Bureau of Land Management--
          (1) shall withdraw the proposed rule of the Bureau of Land 
        Management entitled ``Management and Protection of the National 
        Petroleum Reserve in Alaska'' (88 Fed. Reg. 62025 (September 8, 
        2023)); and
          (2) may not take any action to finalize, implement, 
        administer, or enforce the proposed rule described in paragraph 
        (1) or any substantially similar rule.
  (b) Executive Order 13990.--
          (1) In general.--Section 4 of Executive Order 13990 (86 Fed. 
        Reg. 7037; relating to protecting public health and the 
        environment and restoring science to tackle the climate crisis) 
        shall have no force or effect.
          (2) Funding.--No Federal funds may be obligated or expended 
        to carry out section 4 of the Executive Order described in 
        paragraph (1).
  (c) Secretarial Order 3401.--
          (1) In general.--Secretarial Order 3401 (relating to the 
        Comprehensive Analysis and Temporary Halt on all Activities in 
        the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Relating to the Coastal 
        Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program), issued by the Secretary on 
        June 1, 2021, shall have no force or effect.
          (2) Funding.--No Federal funds may be obligated or expended 
        to carry out the Secretarial Order described in paragraph (1).

                       PURPOSE OF THE LEGISLATION

    The purpose of H.R. 6285 is to ratify and approve all 
authorizations, permits, verifications, extensions, biological 
opinions, incidental take statements, and any other approvals 
or orders issued pursuant to Federal law necessary for the 
establishment and administration of the Coastal Plain oil and 
gas leasing program, and for other purposes.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)\1\ mandates that the 
Secretary of the Interior must establish an oil and gas leasing 
program in the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 
(ANWR). The TCJA also required that the Secretary of the 
Interior hold ``2 lease sales area wide'' with ``the initial 
lease sale under the oil and gas program under this section not 
later than [December 2021]'' and ``a second lease sale under 
the oil and gas program under this section not later than 
[December 2024]''.\2\ On January 6, 2021, the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) held the first oil and gas lease sale for 
Alaska's 1002 Area, offering 22 tracts on 1.1 million acres.\3\ 
The sale yielded a total of $14.4 million in bids, and BLM 
subsequently issued leases for nine tracts covering 437,804 
total acres.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Pub. L. No. 115-97; 131 Stat. 2054.
    \2\Pub. L. No. 115 97, Sec. 20001 (1)(B)(ii), 131 Stat. 2237.
    \3\Bureau of Land Management, Oil & Gas Lease Sale (Jan. 6, 2021), 
https://www.blm.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2021-01/BLMAlaska_2021-
Coastal-Plain-Sale-Bid-Recap_20210106.pdf.
    \4\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On January 20, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 
13990, which abruptly placed a moratorium on implementing the 
Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program and ordered a review 
and additional analysis of the potential environmental impacts 
of the program.\5\ On June 1, 2021, Secretary Haaland signed 
Secretary's Order 3401, which directed the Department of the 
Interior (DOI) to temporarily halt all activities related to 
the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program\6\ and on 
September 8, 2023, Secretary Haaland announced the cancellation 
of the remaining seven oil and gas leases issued by the Trump 
administration in the Coastal Plain of ANWR.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Exec. Order No. 13990, 86 F.R. 7037 (2020).
    \6\Sec. Order No. 3401, DEP'T OF THE INTERIOR (June 1, 2020).
    \7\U.S. Department of the Interior Press Release, Biden-Harris 
Administration Takes Major Steps to Protect Arctic Lands and Wildlife 
in Alaska, 9/6/23, https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/biden-harris-
administration-takes-major-steps-protect-arctic-lands-and-wildlife-
alaska.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On the same day, the Secretary issued a proposed rule, 
``Management and Protection of the National Petroleum Reserve 
in Alaska''\8\ to further limit oil and gas leasing in the 
National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A),\9\ an area which 
Congress specifically set aside for oil and gas 
development.\10\ The proposed rule would treat 13.1 million 
acres of Special Areas in the NRP-A as de facto wilderness that 
would be off limits to energy production.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\Management and Protection of the National Petroleum Reserve in 
Alaska, 43 CFR 2360 (Sep. 8, 2023), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/
pkg/FR-2023-09-08/pdf/2023-18990.pdf.
    \9\Id.
    \10\Public Law 94-258.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Both of these actions were heavily criticized by the entire 
Alaska delegation, as well as the majority of stakeholders on 
the North Slope. This was due to BLM's failure to consult with 
Alaska Natives before taking either action, and because of the 
long-term negative impacts on the people and the state of 
Alaska. These impacts include the loss of energy revenues that 
sustain the livelihoods of those who rely on them.\11\ In fact, 
energy production in Alaska generated $3.1 billion in state and 
local revenue in 2019 and supported over 77,000 direct and 
indirect jobs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Senator Dan Sullivan, Press Releases, DELEGATION, ALASKA 
LEADERS: BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PUTS AMERICAN ENERGY SECURITY AT RISK; 
HARMS THE STATE AND ALASKA NATIVE COMMUNITIES, 9.6.23, https://
www.sullivan.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/delegation-alaska-
leaders-biden-administration-puts-american-energy-security-at-
riskharms-the-state-and-alaska-native-communities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 6285 addresses these actions by promptly reinstating 
the previously issued ANWR leases, that are required by law, 
and cancelling BLM's proposed NPR-A rule.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 6285 was introduced on November 8, 2023, by Rep. Pete 
Stauber (R-MN). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on Energy and Mineral Resources. On November 29, 2023, the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on 
the bill. On December 6, 2023, the Committee on Natural 
Resources met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on Energy 
and Mineral Resources was discharged from further consideration 
of H.R. 6285 by unanimous consent. Rep. Stauber (R-MN) offered 
an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute designated 
Stauber_038 ANS. Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) offered an 
amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
designated Grijalva #3. The amendment was not adopted by a roll 
call vote of 16 yeas to 22 nays, as follows:


    Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) offered a substitute 
Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute on behalf of 
Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) designated Huffman #1 
Substitute ANS. The substitute Amendment in the Nature of a 
Substitute was not adopted by a roll call vote of 16 yeas to 23 
nays, as follows:


    Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) offered an amendment on 
behalf of Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) to the Amendment 
in the Nature of a Substitute designated Huffman #2. The 
amendment was not adopted by a roll call vote of 18 yeas to 23 
nays, as follows:


    The Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute designated 
Stauber_038 ANS was adopted by voice vote. H.R. 6285, as 
amended, was ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by roll call vote of 24 yeas to 17 nays, as 
follows:


                                HEARINGS

    For the purposes of clause 3(c)(6) of House rule XIII, the 
following hearing was used to develop or consider this measure: 
hearing by the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources 
held on November 29, 2023.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 establishes the short title of the bill as the 
``Alaska's Right to Produce Act of 2023.''

Section 2. Congressional findings

    Section 2 expresses that, by statute, the DOI must maintain 
an active oil and gas leasing program in ANWR, that the Naval 
Petroleum Reserves Production Act (NPRPA) requires the BLM to 
allow for the development of petroleum products in the NPR-A, 
and that the Biden administration's recent actions conflict 
with these statutory requirements.

Section 3. Definitions

    Section 3 establishes definitions for the terms Coastal 
Plain, Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, covered 
Coastal Plain lease tract, Record of Decision (ROD) and 
Secretary.

Section 4. Congressional approval of orders

    Section 4 clarifies that the President or Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior may not place a moratorium or 
otherwise pause leasing in the 1002 Area of ANWR; approves all 
authorizations and permits and directs applicable agencies to 
reinstate previously issued authorizations and permits; and 
clarifies that these authorizations satisfy the requirements of 
existing laws.

Section 5. Coastal plain oil and gas leasing program

    Section 5 mandates reissuance of the canceled ANWR leases 
within 30 days of enactment and prevents a future 
administration from taking similar action to revoke leases; 
reaffirms existing law that DOI must hold another ANWR lease 
sale by Dec 22, 2024; clarifies that, with respect to reissuing 
the leases, the 2020 ROD satisfies the requirements of existing 
law; cancels the Biden administration's recently issued Draft 
SEIS, and prevents judicial review on subsequent permits, 
authorizations, verifications, biological opinions, incidental 
take statements, or other approvals; and stipulates that the 
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia 
Circuit has sole jurisdiction for the validity of this section.

Section 6. Nullification of certain Federal agency actions

    Section 6 forces DOI to withdraw the NPR-A regulation and 
prevents the development of a substantially similar rule. It 
deems that Secretarial Order 3401 (relating to the 
Comprehensive Analysis and Temporary Halt on all Activities in 
the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Relating to the Coastal 
Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program) and Section 4 of Executive 
Order 13990 (relating to protecting public health and the 
environment and restoring science to tackle the climate crisis) 
shall have no force or effect.

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    As required by clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general 
performance goal or objective of this bill is to ratify and 
approve all authorizations, permits, verifications, extensions, 
biological opinions, incidental take statements, and any other 
approvals or orders issued pursuant to Federal law necessary 
for the establishment and administration of the Coastal Plain 
oil and gas leasing program, and for other purposes.

   NEW BUDGET AUTHORITY, ENTITLEMENT AUTHORITY, AND TAX EXPENDITURES

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

                 CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE ESTIMATES

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of House rule XIII, the 
Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared by the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clauses 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                 UNFUNDED MANDATES REFORM ACT STATEMENT

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of the Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                           EXISTING PROGRAMS

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                  APPLICABILITY TO LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    Any preemptive effect of this bill over state, local, or 
tribal law is intended to be consistent with the bill's 
purposes and text and the Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the 
U.S. Constitution.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    As ordered reported by the Committee on Natural Resources, 
H.R. 6285 makes no changes in existing law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    Nowhere on Earth is the climate crisis felt more 
dramatically than in the Arctic--which is warming at four times 
the global average--yet Alaska continues to be exploited for 
its oil and gas resources.
    H.R. 6285 would reinstate seven oil and gas leases in the 
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) previously canceled by 
the Biden administration and force a second lease sale in the 
Refuge. The bill would also withdraw the Bureau of Land 
Management's (BLM's) proposed regulations promoting 
conservation in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) 
and open previously withdrawn areas of the Arctic Ocean to 
offshore oil and gas leasing, including the Northern Bering Sea 
Climate Resilience Area.
    The federal government controls two large swaths of land 
with high oil and gas production potential and unparalleled 
ecological and cultural value in Alaska's North Slope, the 
Refuge and the NPR-A. State oil fields in and around Prudhoe 
Bay have made Alaska one of the top oil-producing states in the 
United States, but production has declined over 75 percent 
since its peak in 1988.\1\ Oil and gas revenues underpin 
Alaska's economy, and recent discoveries of oil reserves on 
federal lands have increased pressure to drill on federal 
lands.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Alaska's Oil and Gas Industry, AK Resource Development Council, 
Last Accessed November 11, 2023 https://www.akrdc.org/oil-and-gas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is approximately 7.2 
million acres of wilderness, with 1.5 million acres of the 
coastal plain originally designated to be studied for potential 
oil and gas development. For the Gwich'in people, the coastal 
plain is ``the sacred place where life begins.''
    In 2017, Congressional Republicans attached a provision to 
the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that opened the Arctic Refuge to oil 
and gas leasing and development. The legislation required that 
the first lease sale in the Refuge be held within four years 
(by December 2021) and a second lease sale within seven years 
(by December 2024). Revenues from drilling in the Refuge were 
included as a partial offset for massive tax cuts for the 
wealthiest corporations and Americans.
    Despite significant opposition, on January 6, 2021, the 
Trump administration held the first oil and gas lease sale in 
the Refuge's coastal plain. Only half of the offered leases 
received bids. In total, BLM issued nine 10-year leases 
covering more than 430,000 acres. An Alaskan state-owned 
economic development corporation bought seven leases for the 
minimum bid price of $25 per acre; only two oil companies, 
neither oil majors, bid on and received two leases. The sale 
brought in less than $15 million, less than one percent of 
initial revenue estimates.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\The 10-year Congressional Budget Office revenues estimates from 
ANWR lease sales were based on lease sales and bonus bids alone, 
because oil production was not expected to begin within the 10 year 
period of analysis. See: ``H.R. 1146, Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain 
Protection Act,'' Congressional Budget Office, June 21, 2019. https://
www.cbo.gov/system/files/2019-06/hr1146.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 
13990, directing DOI to review oil and gas leasing in the 
Refuge ``[i]n light of the alleged legal deficiencies 
underlying the program.''\3\ On June 1, 2021, Secretary of the 
Interior Deb Haaland issued Secretarial Order 3401, directing a 
new, comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental 
impacts of the Coastal Plain Leasing Program.\4\ Since then, 
the two private oil companies who purchased leases have 
requested and been granted cancellation and refunds of their 
two leases. The remaining seven leases, covering 365,000 acres, 
were held by the Alaska State Development Authority. On 
September 6, 2023, DOI announced that the leases issued by the 
previous administration in the Refuge would be canceled due to 
significant deficiencies in the Trump administration's analysis 
required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Executive Order 13990, ``Protecting Public Health and the 
Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,'' 
January 20, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/
presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-protecting-public-
health-and-environment-and-restoring-science-to-tackle-climate-crisis/.
    \4\Secretarial Order 3401, June 1, 2021. https://www.doi.gov/sites/
doi.gov/files/elips/documents/so-3401-comprehensive-analysis-and-
temporary-halt-on-all-activitives-in-the-arctic-national-wildlife-
refuge-relating-to-the-coastal-plain-oil-and-gas-leasing-program.pdf.
    \5\Friedman, Lisa, (September 6, 2023) Biden Administration to Bar 
Drilling on Millions of Acres in Alaska, New York Times, https://
www.nytimes.com/2023/09/06/climate/biden-drilling-alaska-wildlife-
refuge.html.
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    H.R. 6285 would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from 
placing any moratorium or pause on oil and gas leasing in the 
Coastal Plain and would automatically approve all 
authorizations and permits in the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program. It 
would require the Secretary to reissue the canceled leases and 
declare that no court shall have jurisdiction over the review 
of past decisions regarding the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas 
Leasing Program.
    National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) extends from the 
northwest slope of the Brooks Range to the Arctic Coast and 
encompasses roughly 23 million acres of public land managed by 
the BLM. Tribal Nations have occupied lands within the NPR-A 
since time immemorial, and over 40 Indigenous communities 
continue to rely on subsistence activities in the Reserve, 
harvesting caribou, shore and waterbirds, and many other fish 
and wildlife species. Under the Naval Petroleum Reserves 
Production Act (NPRPA) of 1976, Congress directed the BLM to 
balance oil and gas development with managing and protecting 
sensitive landscapes--Special Areas--and surface resources 
across the Reserve.
    The Obama administration released the first management plan 
for the entire NPR-A in 2013. It made 52 percent of the Reserve 
available for oil and gas development, with varying levels of 
protection for the off-limits 11 million acres, including 
expanding and protecting Special Areas within the Reserve.\6\
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    \6\National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Final Integrated Activity 
Plan/Environmental Impact Statement, November 2012. https://
eplanning.blm.gov/public_projects/nepa/5251/41003/43153/Vol1_NPR 
A_Final_IAP_FEIS.pdf.
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    In the first months of the Trump administration, then-
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed a Secretarial Order 
``to jump-start Alaskan energy production,'' instructing BLM to 
reassess oil and gas resources and management in the NPR-A and 
ANWR. The Trump administration held historically large lease 
sales in the NPR-A in 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2020, the Trump 
administration released a new Integrated Activity Plan and 
Environmental Impact Statement for the NPR-A. The Trump 
management plan opened more than 82 percent of the NPR-A to 
leasing, including biologically important Special Areas. 
Environmental organizations immediately challenged the plan in 
court, alleging the EIS was insufficient. On April 25, 2022, 
the Biden administration reinstated the Obama-era 2013 NPR-A 
integrated management plan.\7\
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    \7\``Oil and Gas Development in Alaska's National Petroleum 
Reserve'', Energy & Environmental Law Program, Harvard University, 
Accessed November 20, 2023 https://eelp.law.harvard.edu/2018/12/
national-petroleum-reserve-oil-and-gas-development/.
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    On September 6, 2023, the Biden administration announced a 
proposed rule to ensure maximum protection of 13 million acres 
of Special Areas. The proposed rule would also require BLM to 
review and gather public input--at least every five years--on 
whether existing special areas should be expanded, new special 
areas should be designated, and additional resources within 
special areas should be identified for protection.
    The proposed rule would protect the 13 million acres of 
special areas by limiting future oil and gas leasing and 
industrial development in places collectively known for their 
globally significant intact habitat for wildlife, including 
grizzly and polar bears, caribou, and hundreds of thousands of 
migratory birds. The rule would establish an outright 
prohibition on any new leasing in 10.6 million acres, more than 
40 percent of the NPR-A. The proposed rule was published in the 
Federal Register on September 8, 2023; the public comment 
period was extended from the original 60 days to 90 days and 
closed on December 7, 2023.\8\
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    \8\Bureau of Land Management. ``National Petroleum Reserve in 
Alaska Rule.'' Accessed February 27, 2024. https://www.blm.gov/about/
laws-and-regulations/NPR-A-Rule.
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    H.R. 6285 would require BLM to withdraw the proposed rule 
and would prohibit any substantially similar rules from being 
proposed by BLM.
    The North Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area encompasses 
112,300 square miles of ocean area, which is considered one of 
the most historically, environmentally, and culturally 
significant places on the planet. Protections for the Bering 
Sea were requested by a significant coalition of Tribes, 
including the Association of Village Council Presidents and the 
Bering Sea Elders Group, among others. In 2016, President Obama 
withdrew areas in Arctic waters and the Bering Sea from oil and 
gas drilling and established the Northern Bering Sea Climate 
Resilience Area. In April 2017, the Trump administration 
subsequently revoked the order in E.O. 13795 (Implementing an 
America-First Offshore Energy Strategy).\9\ On his first day in 
office, President Biden reinstated the withdrawal through 
Executive Order 13990.\10\ H.R. 6285 would nullify E.O. 13990 
and again revoke the Bering Sea withdrawal.
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    \9\Executive Order 13795, ``Implementing an America-First Offshore 
Energy Strategy,'' April 28, 2017. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/
DCPD-201700287/pdf/DCPD-201700287.pdf.
    \10\Executive Order 13990, ``Protecting Public Health and the 
Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,'' 
January 20, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/
presidential-actions/2021/01/20/executive-order-protecting-public-
health-and-environment-and-restoring-science-to-tackle-climate-crisis/.
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    Many Democrats have long supported efforts to permanently 
ban oil and gas development in the Refuge and sensitive regions 
offshore and are supportive of efforts to increase conservation 
measures in the NRP-A. While Indigenous communities in the 
North Slope of Alaska have complex relationships with oil and 
gas resources, and perspectives on this issue differ across 
communities, oil and gas development threatens subsistence and 
cultural resources and compounds the increasingly severe 
impacts of the climate crisis.
    For these reasons, Congress should reject H.R. 6285.

                                          Raul M. Grijalva,
                                                    Ranking Member.