Field & Stream

US - ANWR Drilling Paused By Biden Administration

The executive action reverses a drilling program approved by the Trump Administration in 2017

On June 1, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced it was suspending “all activities related to the implementation of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).” The Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program was enacted by Congress and approved by the Trump Administration in 2017. It opened a vast area of 19.6 million acres of Alaska tundra to future oil drilling.

The Interior Department’s move is the result of Executive Order 13990, which President Joe Biden signed on his first day in office. The order directed the DOI to review oil and gas activity in the Arctic Refuge. After completing this preliminary review, the DOI decided to suspend oil drilling.

The action is the latest in a string of disputes over how land is managed in one of the last truly wild areas of the U.S. The ANWR is a sportsman’s paradise for those willing to make the trip to the remote, undeveloped area in Northwest Alaska. It’s home to polar bears, migratory birds, and snowy owls, and it serves as the primary calving ground of the 197,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd. The area, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also harbors a reserve of over 11 billion barrels of oil.

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