Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Biden bans oil exploration in Alaska after approving Conoco Phillips project

The Joe Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is banning new oil and gas developments in a vast region of northern Alaska home to indigenous communities and a sanctuary for famous wildlife five months after approving a hydrocarbon project in the area.

This new measure includes four million hectares, an area comparable to Denmark’s, in the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska (NPR-A), a vital habitat for grizzly bears, polar bears, caribou and millions of migratory birds.

“Alaska is home to some of America’s greatest wonders and culturally significant areas,” Biden said in a statement.

The Interior Department, which oversees states, added that it has canceled seven logging permits issued under the Donald Trump administration at another protected area in northern Alaska, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.

The decision follows a controversial government approval earlier this year for a project by oil giant Conoco Phillips in the same region.

The Willow project was approved by the Trump administration and supported by Biden.

Some see Wednesday’s announcement as an attempt by the government to recover from criticism it received after approving the Conoco Philipps project, which was reduced to three drill zones versus five proposed by the company, at a cost of up to to $10,000 million in CO2 emissions that alarmed environmentalists.

The plan, announced Wednesday, also bans drilling in more than a million hectares of the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska’s north coast.

Biden promised to freeze oil exploration permits during his presidential campaign, a promise he failed to deliver.

NPR-A is the largest public land region in the United States and was established in 1923 by President Warren Harding.

Nation World News Desk
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