Inspenet, September 7, 2023.
An announcement issued by the administration of US President Joe Biden prohibits new oil and gas extraction activities in a highly significant region of Alaska. This determination is based on the recognition of the ecological importance of the area both for the indigenous communities that inhabit it and for its fundamental role as a habitat for several emblematic animal species.
The ban covers an area of 10.6 million acres, which is equivalent to 40% of the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska (NPR-A) . This region is home to a diversity of animals, including brown and polar bears.
In addition to the NPR-A drilling ban, the US Department of the Interior has canceled seven previously authorized contracts for oil and gas development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This action is in line with Biden’s commitment to protect natural areas in the context of the climate crisis, especially in the Arctic, which is experiencing rapid warming.
Environmental advocates have hailed this decision as a significant step toward preserving these fragile ecosystems.
Biden bans drilling in other areas
While the Biden administration has received praise for these moves, it has also come under fire for authorizing the ConocoPhillips oil project on NPR-A. Some observers have speculated that the recent drilling bans could be an attempt to address some of this criticism. In addition to these drilling restrictions on an additional 2.4 million acres within NPR-A, a drilling ban has been implemented on approximately 2.8 million acres in the Beaufort Sea .
The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska is the largest tract of public land in the United States. However, concerns about environmental protection have been present in the management of this region since 1976.
Biden’s decision is in line with his campaign promise to stop the granting of new leases on federal land and water. Despite facing challenges and limitations, his administration has taken significant steps to address climate change, including passing the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which allocates billions of dollars to combat this problem.
The ban on oil and gas drilling in Alaska underscores President Biden’s commitment to protecting areas of great ecological value, while responding to the urgent need to address climate change.
Do you think this decision will bring other consequences?