Alaska has filed suit in U.S. Court of Federal Claims to recover lost revenues from nine canceled federal oil and gas leases covering lands on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain.

Filed on July 2, the suit continues the state’s efforts to hold the Biden administration accountable for the costs of its environmental policies, especially when those decisions lead to severe economic impacts to Alaska.

“Oil and gas production from those leases could greatly contribute to our nation’s energy independence and the economy of our state,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a written statement. “This about-face by the federal government opposes the direction given by Congress and deprives Alaska of our natural resource rights.”

As a condition of joining the Union, Alaska was originally promised the ability to build its economy through resource development.

“The Biden administration’s decisions since day one have been aimed at making the State of Alaska off limits to any resource development to the detriment of Alaska and Alaskans seeking to provide for their families,” Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor commented. “As the rest of the nation celebrates the Fourth of July, the federal government has systematically undermined the state’s ability to maintain its economic independence. This was not what was promised Alaskans at statehood, and why the state must continue to fight.”

Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources John Boyle added that Alaska’s oil and gas resources “can be developed safely and responsibly” in the questioned area.

“The only obstacle is the radical environmentalist agenda of the Biden Administration,” he noted.

According to its own planning documents, the federal government estimates there are more than seven billion barrels of recoverable oil within the Coastal Plain, and, under federal law, Alaska is entitled to 50% of the royalties paid under the leases. Even if only half of the recoverable oil could be produced, Alaska would be entitled to nearly $25 billion in royalty revenue; this is in addition to the millions owed to the state for its share of the lease rental fees and bonus payments made.

The lawsuit maintains that once the United States issued these leases, it owed Alaska a duty of good faith to protect the state’s royalty interests, and that by canceling the ANWR leases, the United States breached its obligations.

“The United States’ policy decisions have consequences, especially when those decisions lead to a breach of contract,” a notice about the lawsuit states. “Here, one of the consequences of the United States’ cancellation of the Coastal Plain oil and gas leases was to deprive the state of billions of dollars in statutorily-provided revenues. Now it must address the results of that policy by providing all compensation required by law to the State of Alaska.”

This lawsuit adds to the list of challenges to federal actions affecting Alaskans. Most notably the state has filed suits in federal district court and the Court of Federal Claims challenging the EPA’s unlawful decision to put off limits 300 square miles of state lands to mineral development and is asking for $700 billion in compensation.

Read the complaint here.

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Alaska sues Biden administration for billions in lost revenue from canceled oil, gas leases

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • John J Otness says:

    Time for the small businesses to sue the state for the covid shut downs and destruction of their businesses
    while allowing the big box stores free reign… that was evil.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Ethan berkelium and Cathy Geisel have put this little

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Governor in his place! Now he wants to flex his muscle?

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        What a joke!

      • Charlotte says:

        Chevron deference is what the EPA used to interfere with Ak. It allows all 3 letter agencies to write any old law they please and then enforce it. It’s illegal, and SCOTUS struck it down last week. The “laws” will disappear soon, esp with Trump back. Maybe that’s why Dun chose to file a lawsuit and waste taxpayer dollars-bc it wasn’t necessary and he wanted the people to think he did something.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Is our governor really standing tall or just a bunch of hot air.

  • John J Otness says:


  • John J Otness says:


  • ML, just common sense says:

    Well, some of you make no sense, maybe I didn’t get the memo. However, in regard to suing the Federal Government for their policies that hurt our State, it would seem appropriate to me. The current administration has shut the door in Alaska’s face, restricting our way of life and dictating what we do or don’t do with our lands, and just overall damaging our economy. It’s doubtful it will come to fruition, but it sends a clear message. If you want a positive change…….VOTE!!!

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      ML, I would also add that people need to get involved locally in order to make change happen.

  • Shelia says:

    The Alaska Statehood Act was never completed by Congress. Instead, every means of stalling instead of allowing the state to develop its resources was and is still used. Even though the Supreme Court has struck down federal agencies’ abilities to make laws as they deem fit, the state will still have to fight for its rights. So lawsuits will still have to be done until the full completion of the Alaska Statehood Act is finally a reality. Alaskans need to fight for their rights. Failure to do so will mean the continued economic stagnation of the state, along with the absence of responsible conservation to replace the radical and anti-human so-called environmentalism that plagues us all now.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      If fighting is what the need is get the linguini spineless governor out of the way and place an actual fighter in his place!

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