The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge covers 19.6 million acres of relatively untouched lands that have sustained Indigenous communities and an abundance of wildlife since time immemorial. Following decades of fighting to protect the Arctic Refuge, the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge was opened to oil and gas development as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Referred to as “the sacred place where life begins” by the Gwich’in people, the Coastal Plain is the biological heart of the Arctic Refuge, hosting millions of migratory birds, polar bears, grizzly bears, and the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd.
Since day one, President Joe Biden has worked to safeguard this vital landscape and address the deeply flawed and illegal oil and gas program implemented under the Trump administration. In September 2023, the Biden administration cancelled the remaining Trump-era leases in the Arctic Refuge and issued a new environmental review of the Coastal Plain Leasing Program.
The Biden administration’s actions represent an essential step towards protecting the region from new fossil fuel threats and help lay a foundation for our continued efforts to secure durable, long-lasting protections for the Arctic Refuge and those who depend on it.
Learn more about President Biden’s efforts to protect the Arctic Refuge here.