White House imposes restrictions on oil drilling in parts of Alaska and in special Arctic Ocean
The White House announced a ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and restrictions on land drilling in Alaska. The statement says the ban was introduced to protect whales, seals, polar bears, grizzlies, and caribou.
Thus, almost 3 million acres of the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean are now unavailable for oil and gas leases “indefinitely.” The ban makes US Arctic waters off limits for oil exploration.
In addition to the drilling ban, the government will put forward new protection measures for more than 13 million acres of environmentally sensitive special areas within Alaska’s oil reserves.
The area includes Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Uplands, Colville River, Kasegaluk Lagoon and Peard Bay Special Areas.
However, environmental groups complain that the new protection measures are not enough. At the same time, another project, Willow, will be in force in the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, that covers 23 million acre (93 million ha) on the state’s North Slope.
“It's insulting that Biden thinks this will change our minds about the Willow project,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.