Conservation Lands Foundation Applauds Administration for Progress on Protecting Western Arctic Lands and Waterways

Conservation Lands Foundation
|April 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC — The Conservation Lands Foundation applauded the Biden-Harris administration for its release today of a final conservation rule (Management and Protection of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska) that strengthens protections for the health of essential landscapes and waterways within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (the Reserve).

“The Biden-Harris administration’s decision strengthens protections for 13 million acres of essential wildlife habitat and intact lands and water in the Western Arctic that support biodiversity, communities, and cultural and subsistence traditions of the Indigenous communities who have relied upon and stewarded these lands for millennia, said Jocelyn Torres, Co-Interim Executive Director and Chief Conservation Officer.

“It also establishes a much-needed process for creating or expanding Special Areas within the Reserve, which is one intact ecosystem. Expanding Special Areas with the most robust protections will keep the ecosystem intact from the threats of destructive oil and gas drilling, which fracture the Reserve and negatively impact wildlife, reduce local communities' access to subsistence resources, and ultimately accelerate the rate of climate change. 

“This announcement is a critical step towards protecting Special Areas that have been identified as critical for wildlife habitat but it’s not the final step: while this announcement means that 13 million acres of designated Special Areas can remain free from oil and gas development, protections for more Special Areas should be established to prevent threats and impacts from current and future projects.

“This decision strengthens the vital process for local communities to weigh in with the administration on what should be protected. We look forward to working with communities and the Biden-Harris administration to protect more Special Areas in the Western Arctic.”



The Reserve is the largest single unit of public lands in the nation, spanning nearly 23 million acres. It contains vital habitats for wildlife like polar bears, muskox, and millions of migratory birds. It is home to three caribou herds, including the 150,000-strong Western Arctic Caribou Herd. Within the Reserve exist designated Special Areas that have significant ecological significance – places like Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Uplands, Colville River, Kasegaluk Lagoon, and Peard Bay. Recently, large oil and gas projects have threatened the Western Arctic. 

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About Conservation Lands Foundation
We’re the only nonprofit leading a national movement of community-based advocates who care for America’s NATIONAL CONSERVATION LANDS of natural, historical, cultural and recreational significance.
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    Conservation Lands Foundation published this page in Latest News 2024-04-19 08:21:37 -0600
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