Friends of the Earth Responds to Interior’s Announcements for Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
WASHINGTON – Today, the Biden Administration announced a set of new regulations regarding land use for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Western Arctic) and the cancellation of remaining oil and gas leases issued by the Trump Administration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. These announcements offer stronger protections against oil and gas leasing in designated Special Areas. However, the proposed Western Arctic rules only address parts of the Western Arctic that haven’t been subject to leasing, and not the millions of acres of lands already leased to the fossil fuel industry
In March 2023, for example, the Biden Administration approved ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project, undermining his climate commitments by instilling an enormous new carbon emission source that will cause irreparable harm to Alaska’s communities, environment, and wildlife. The approval was met with a lawsuit from Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups who vehemently opposed the project, citing it will add about 260 million metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere over the next 30 years, or the equivalent of an extra two million cars on the road per year.
Raena Garcia, Senior Public Lands and Fossil Fuels Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, issued the following response:
Today’s announcements, while appreciated, simply don’t go far enough to preserve our public lands. Lease sales like those in the ANWR that were put forth by the Trump Administration should have never happened in the first place. Small measures like the ones the Department of Interior put forward won’t erase President Biden’s incredibly disappointing climate record with respect to oil and gas leasing. If the Administration is truly committed to protecting our people and the planet, they will halt climate-destroying projects like Willow altogether.
COMMUNICATIONS CONTACT: Erika Seiber, [email protected]