Washington, D.C. — Today, the Biden administration announced new protections for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Western Arctic, both of which have long been under threat of oil and gas drilling. The administration canceled the remaining leases in the Arctic Refuge, replaced the Trump administration’s illegal environmental review with a new supplemental for the refuge, and released a draft rulemaking to better protect the Western Arctic. In response to these announcements, Jenny Rowland-Shea, director of Public Lands at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
President Biden has single-handedly rescued one of America’s most iconic and sensitive landscapes from the brink of destruction. These moves will help prevent oil and gas leasing from ruining the Arctic Refuge, an area critical to Indigenous people and to wildlife.
The draft conservation regulations in the Western Arctic, where the controversial Willow drilling project was recently approved, are a welcome first step toward better aligning the management of the area with national climate, conservation, and environmental justice goals.
America’s Arctic presents an unparalleled opportunity to protect public lands on an unprecedented scale, prevent climate change, and sustain the biodiversity that we all rely on. President Joe Biden is fulfilling his promises to put people and planet before oil and gas profit and cementing his conservation legacy.
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