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‘National security suicide’: Alaska senator slams Biden admin’s move to restrict drilling and mining

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Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) criticized the Biden administration’s decision to put millions of acres of Alaskan wilderness outside the reach of oil drilling and critical mineral mining, likening the moves to “national security suicide.”

“Well, it’s lawless. He doesn’t have the authority to do it. … It’s, as I say, national security suicide,” Sullivan said Sunday during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Alaska has long been at odds with the federal government over the use and protection of its enormous natural resources, particularly when a Democrat is in the White House.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management on Friday officially recommended against building the Ambler Road — a proposed 211 mile-long roadway that would have expanded mining operations into an undeveloped part of the state — a recommendation that effectively kills the project and puts zinc and copper deposits out of reach.

Interior also issued a final rule that will remove the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean, 11 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and nearly 3 million acres of federal waters off the Alaska coast from consideration for new oil and gas leasing.

The decision by the Interior Department reaped praise from environmental and conservation groups, as well as some some native tribes — but not all, Sullivan said Sunday.

“When this president on Friday with [Interior] Secretary [Deb] Haaland announced that they did this because the Alaska Native, the indigenous people on the North Slope of Alaska, asked them to, they wanted them to, the leaders of the North Slope of Alaska were unanimous in opposition to this,” Sullivan said.

But other local tribes lauded the Biden administration’s decision and said the Trump administration did not consult with them before approving the project.