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Manchin, others torch Biden for banning oil drilling across millions of acres: ‘assault on our economy’

President Biden was heavily criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for his administration’s actions Wednesday, significantly curbing fossil fuel drilling in an oil-rich region of Alaska.

As part of the actions, the Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed regulations to “ensure maximum protection” for 13 million acres of land across the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR), an area in North Slope Borough, Alaska. Biden further ordered an additional 2.8 million of acres to be withdrawn from oil and gas leasing in the Beaufort Sea off the northern coast of Alaska.

Additionally, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland authorized the cancelation of seven leases issued in 2021 to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), a state agency. Those leases were purchased in January 2021 and span 365,775 acres across non-wilderness areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“With climate change warming the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, we must do everything within our control to meet the highest standards of care to protect this fragile ecosystem,” Haaland said.

“I am deeply frustrated by the reversal of these leases in ANWR,” said Democratic Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola. “I will continue to advocate for them and for Alaska’s ability to explore and develop our natural resources, from the critical minerals we need for our clean energy transition to the domestic oil and gas we need to get us there.”

According to AIDEA, the non-wilderness section of the ANWR where its leases are located contains approximately 7.6 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The agency said a large share of economic development and jobs supported across Alaska’s indigenous and rural North Slope communities are related to oil and gas development.

Taxes on oil and gas activities in Alaska also provide key funding for communities statewide and for government services, schools, housing, health care and emergency services.

Thomas Catenacci is a politics writer for Fox News Digital.

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