Amid drastically rising gasoline and diesel fuel prices, the Biden administration has canceled seven major drilling permits in the North Slope of Alaska, a move celebrated by some environmental activists but roundly criticized by other community members and elected officials in the state.

The price of Brent crude, one of the two major benchmark oils in the world, has shot up more than 10 percent in the past month alone. On Independence Day, it was at $75 a barrel. Since Labor Day, it has been above $90 a barrel — and climbing.

As a result, the price of gasoline is approaching a national average of $4 per gallon. Meanwhile, Russia and Saudi Arabia have separately announced they will continue limiting their oil exports until at least the end of the year, driving fuel prices higher.

“The effects of the permit cancellations have been immediate, as the signal has been sent that the Biden administration will not allow energy exploration in the most promising areas in the U.S.,” said Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research & American Energy Alliance (AEA). “It emboldens those who use oil as a weapon with the promise that the U.S. is unilaterally disarming. Consumers will be stuck with the bill.”

Supporters of the Biden administration’s reneging on the seven federal leases in the North Slope justify the move in terms of protecting the area’s ecology. But the state’s governor, all three of its congressional members, and some indigenous tribal leaders in the affected region argue the benefits from drilling would far outweigh any actual environmental risks.

“Over 50 years of experience on the North Slope shows energy development and nature can coexist,” Kish said, adding that “no environmental activists oppose American energy independence more than Biden’s wrecking crew, and they show that every day.” AEA has produced a list of 175 “anti-energy actions” made by the Biden administration to date.

Jack Belcher, a strategic advisor to major energy companies, sees the White House’s cancellation of seven drilling permits in the North Slope as an obvious appeasement to certain environmental activists, who were incensed over the administration’s approval of an $8 billion oil drilling project called Willow, located in the same region. “Biden rescinded the permits in reaction to pressure from environmentalist groups,” Belcher said.

U.S. Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola, a Democrat and an Alaska Native of the Yup’ik people, announced she was “deeply frustrated” by the reversal of the North Slope leases. “We can’t keep erasing our progress with every administration. I will continue to advocate for permitting reform that includes predictable timelines from the federal government, which must be a reliable partner in leasing and developing our resources,” she said.

Morrie Lemen, executive director of Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope (ICAS), confirmed in an interview that his organization wasn’t consulted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) before deciding to cancel the seven leases.

Lemen’s tribe of more than 13,000 Alaska Natives living in eight North Slope villages rely heavily on oil and gas production revenue to sustain their economy. ICAS didn’t receive notification from BLM about the decision to cancel the seven leases until after it had been made and a public announcement was imminent. “It took us by surprise,” Lemen said. “We weren’t consulted.”

In addition to announcing the cancellations, the Biden administration went further by signaling it would prohibit oil and gas drilling in 10.6 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. And leases on an additional 2.4 million acres under the newly proposed policy would first require that BLM determine whether any drilling operations would result only in “minimal effects” on wildlife, an ecological concept open to broad interpretation.

“The National Petroleum Reserve, which is explicitly designated for energy production, turns 100 this year, and we have worked for decades on how to responsibly develop a very small portion of the non-wilderness 1002 Area,” said Lisa Murkowski, the state’s senior U.S. senator. “Now the Biden administration, at a time when America and our allies need Alaska’s resources more than ever, has decided to go their own way by further locking Alaska down while refusing to consult with the Alaska Natives who actually live on the North Slope,” Murkowski added.

According to an August report by the International Energy Agency, global oil stocks decreased for a third consecutive month in July, “with OECD industry stocks more than 100 million barrels below the five-year average. That supply is set to tighten further in the autumn, as Saudi Arabia and Russia extend their production cuts.

“Once again, Alaska right now feels like a victim under this administration. And the country is going to feel like a victim here if they haven’t already,” Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy told Fox News.

“This makes absolutely no sense from any perspective unless your goal is to drive up the cost of oil and gas so much that it makes certain renewables cheaper.”