Press Release: Biden’s Proposed Actions for America’s Arctic Recognize Alaska’s Conservation, Climate Potential


September 6, 2023

Contact: Andy Moderow | 907-360-3622 |

Biden’s Proposed Actions for America’s Arctic Recognize Alaska’s Conservation, Climate Potential
Alaska public lands receive proposed suite of actions to protect communities, strengthen conservation and advance climate goals

Washington, D.C.— Today, the Biden administration announced a suite of actions to protect diverse landscapes across America’s Arctic, recognizing the importance of Alaska’s public lands and waters for communities, biodiversity and our global climate. These announcements are an essential step toward addressing the threat of oil and gas development across the Arctic — a region that provides some of our nation’s last remaining opportunities to protect ecosystems at a landscape level. Today’s announcement comes at a time when the climate crisis has never been more profoundly felt across the globe.

“Today is a good day for climate, Indigenous communities, and our Arctic ecosystem. At a time when the reality of the climate crisis is daily news, the Biden administration is taking necessary action in the Arctic to move us toward a more sustainable future.  Leases should have never been granted in the Arctic Refuge under President Trump’s illegal Coastal Plain leasing program, especially to AIDEA – a state-owned development corporation with a track record of failures and no oil and gas experience,” said Kristen Miller, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League. “Today’s action shows the Biden administration’s commitment to long-term climate and conservation solutions for this region.  The end to illegal leases, along with strong action toward new conservation protections, show the bold action we need to preserve America’s Arctic and address climate change.”

Honoring the connectivity across America’s Arctic, the administration simultaneously released measures for both the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Reserve). Together these efforts provide a holistic approach, creating durable protections for one of the most critical collective landscapes in the nation and the world. Both the Arctic Refuge and the Reserve received protective measures specific to the management styles and needs of the region.

In the Arctic Refuge, President Biden announced the cancellation of remaining oil and gas leases that were issued under Trump’s illegal leasing program, honoring the decades long fight of the Gwich’in Nation and Inupiat allies to protect their subsistence resources and cultural homelands. As a result of this action, no leases will be held by any entity on the Coastal Plain.  Simultaneously, the administration released a necessary process to address the former Trump administration’s illegal Arctic Refuge oil and gas leasing program.

In the Reserve, President Biden also released draft regulations aimed at strengthening and expanding protections for current and future Special Areas across the Reserve — the largest single unit of public lands in the nation, spanning nearly 23 million acres. This announcement includes strengthening protections and durability for 13 million acres of existing Special Areas, along with mechanisms for creating new Special Areas in years to come. Today’s announced regulations are an important step in the effort to address the threat of future oil and gas development in the fragile Arctic region.

Together, these announcements propose stronger protections for more than 13 million acres of our public lands, providing the opportunity for the U.S. to create a lasting legacy of healthy communities, flourishing biodiversity and a resilient climate in America’s Arctic and beyond.

Photo Credit: © Florian Schulz /