Biden Admin Under Fire After Memo Leaked on Lower Royalty Rates for Alaska Oil and Gas Leases

The Biden administration is under fire after an internal memo was published showing they had considered a lower royalty rate for offshore oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Cook Inlet. This could have increased bid numbers, increased the chances of a discovery being developed, and would have increased government revenues and energy security for the state of Alaska.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was appalled by the memo's contents and released a statement saying, “I am appalled by its contents, which make crystal clear that this administration is literally putting their radical climate agenda ahead of the needs of the people of Alaska and the United States.[0] I will not support anyone who agrees with this type of misguided reasoning.[0][1]

President Joe Biden had accused oil companies of “sitting on nearly 9,000 unused but approved” drilling permits, however, the memo shows the Interior Department considered an alternative sale option in Cook Inlet with a lower royalty rate that would have made it more viable for development and improved U.S. energy security.[1]

The department instead chose to release a final sale notice with a higher rate of 18 3/4%, yielding a bid of only $63,983 for a single block out of the approximately 200 blocks that were available.[1] This is not what the people of Alaska and the United States needed to experience. The House Republicans are determined to make Joe Biden take responsibility for deceiving the American public and trying to put the blame for the energy crisis he caused on oil and gas producers.[2]

0. “Manchin Reacts to DOI Memo on Cook Inlet Lease Sale” EIN News, 3 Mar. 2023,

1. “Manchin blasts Biden ‘radical climate agenda' over Alaska oil lease sale” Washington Examiner, 3 Mar. 2023,

2. “The Biden Administration Lied About Unused Federal Oil and Gas Permits”, 1 Mar. 2023,