A Significant Choice Made by President Biden Will Impact Over 10 Million Acres of Land

 A Significant Choice Made by President Biden Will Impact Over 10 Million Acres of Land


President Joe Biden’s administration has taken bold action to halt oil drilling in Alaska, safeguarding millions of acres of ecologically significant land and water areas. This decision, announced on December 12, 2023, by The Cool Down, represents a significant win for environmentalists and indigenous communities.

Biden’s plan involves a permanent ban on oil and gas leasing over more than 10 million acres in the North Slope, including parts of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). This move reverses the previous administration’s policy, which had opened these areas to energy development despite strong opposition from conservationists and local tribes.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland also played a key role, canceling nine oil and gas leases in the ANWR’s coastal plain, a region sacred to the Gwich’in people and critical for the porcupine caribou herd. The Biden administration deemed these leases invalid, citing a flawed environmental review process that failed to consider the potential impacts on climate, wildlife, and human rights, told The Washington Post.

Environmental groups and native organizations have applauded these actions, with Kristen Miller of the Alaska Wilderness League praising Biden and Haaland for their commitment to confronting the climate crisis and upholding environmental justice and human rights. Similarly, Bernadette Demientieff of the Gwich’in Steering Committee expressed gratitude for the protection of their way of life and culture.

However, these measures have faced criticism from some lawmakers and industry groups. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, plans to sue the administration, arguing that the decision undermines Alaska’s sovereignty, economy, and energy security. The American Petroleum Institute also expressed disappointment, citing concerns over American energy leadership and job creation, told AP News.

The decision has elicited mixed reactions even among environmentalists, particularly regarding the administration’s approval of the Willow project, a significant oil development plan by ConocoPhillips in the NPR-A. Critics argue that this project contradicts the administration’s climate goals and commitment to environmental justice.

The administration’s actions align with global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, as outlined in the Paris Agreement. Protecting the Arctic, a region highly vulnerable to climate change is seen as crucial for preserving its unique wildlife, indigenous cultures, and natural heritage for future generations.

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