top of page

13 Million Acres of Alaskan Land is now Protected from Oil Drilling ..

Maayan Cohen

The Biden Administration has made a decision that could get them back in the good graces of environmentalists: protecting Alaskan Wildlife.

According to The New York Times the Biden administration “announced that it would prohibit drilling in 13 million acres of pristine wilderness in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and cancel all drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” This announcement will protect millions of acres that “are home to grizzly and polar bears, snowy owls, migratory birds and herds of moose and caribou.”

The Washington Post mentioned in a statement from President Biden, they stated that the state is full of “breathtaking natural wonders” that need protection. “As the climate crisis warms the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, we have a responsibility to protect this treasured region for all ages,” Biden continues.

Although this decision comes with a generally positive response, many climate activists have criticized the Biden Administration for giving “mixed signals” on their true stance on climate change policy. This is partially because the enormous $8 billion Willow oil drilling project in the same area was approved earlier this year by President Biden.“Biden was surprised by how angry environmental nonprofits were over Willow” and is trying to return to their “good graces,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University.

Now, President Biden has made the historic decision to protect this precious land in the Arctic, however, this will still come with some political tension.

The newly protected land sits on top of an estimated 11 billion dollars worth of oil revenue. This means that new legislation could face tension from the fossil fuel industry, and some local Alaskan groups who rely on drilling for jobs and revenue.

However, average temperatures in the Arctic are increasing about four times as fast as the rest of the globe. The area is often described as ‘ground zero’ for climate change because of record-breaking heat, thawing permafrost and glacier melt, we know that our sacred land is only temporarily safe from oil and gas development,” said Bernadette Demientieff, the executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, an Alaska Native group opposed to drilling. “We urge the administration and our leaders in Congress to repeal the oil and gas program and permanently protect the Arctic Refuge.”

In conclusion, for climate activists, this is good news regarding the preservation of our Earth and its natural resources. Although the political and climate worlds have not always gone hand in hand, this is a step towards a progressive future where climate change policies are on the front page.


Friedman, L. (2023, September 6). Biden administration to bar drilling on millions of acres in Alaska. The New York Times. JPT. (2023, September 7).

Biden administration to bar drilling on millions of acres in Alaska. JPT.,in%20the%20Arctic%20Natio nal%20Wildlife Puko, T. (2023, September 7).

Biden to block oil drilling in “irreplaceable” Alaskan wildlands. The Washington Post.


bottom of page