A member of the Porcupine caribou herd is seen in the Arctic Refuge in Alaska. 
Credit: G MacRae / flickr / cc

Indigenous tribes and climate campaigners applauded the Biden administration’s announcement Wednesday that it will cancel all existing oil and gas drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and ban drilling across 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve, while hundreds of groups also called on the U.S. Interior Department to go further on fossil fuel leasing.

Biden’s move in Alaska will reverse former Republican President Donald Trump’s approval of a 2017 law that required leasing in the Arctic Refuge, the nation’s largest area of pristine wilderness which is home to vulnerable species including polar bears, migratory birds, and caribou.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) holds the last remaining leases in the refuge, after two other lessees canceled drilling plans. AIDEA’s leases would have allowed it to drill in 365,000 acres in the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain.

The Biden administration conducted an environmental analysis of the lease sale which found […]

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