President Biden Announces New Protections for America’s Western Arctic

We’re thrilled to share that the Biden administration recently announced new protections for more than 13 million acres of America’s Western Arctic, taking another significant leap forward on climate and conservation and protection of sacred land. The Western Arctic is home to unique wildlife—such as polar bears, caribou, and migratory birds from seven continents—and serves as the traditional homelands for more than 40 Indigenous communities. President Biden’s announcement marks a significant step forward for the future of America’s Arctic and the countless species and people who call it home.

Florian Schulz/

The Western Arctic is not just a beautiful landscape—it represents America’s largest unit of federal public land and is a crucial resource in the fight against climate change. The Arctic landscape absorbs and stores massive amounts of carbon, and development would disrupt this delicate balance in a region where temperatures are already rising four times faster than the rest of the planet.

Through this action, the Biden administration brings an unprecedented level of recognition to the 13 million acres of “Special Areas” in the Western Arctic. Special Areas are landscapes recognized for their exceptional ecological values. This action also sets in motion a process for expanding or designating new Special Areas and formalizing maximum regulatory protections for these areas to conserve the natural resources they contain. Together, these actions serve to safeguard the livelihoods of Alaska Native communities who depend on the land for food and cultural practices, ensuring a sustainable future for the land and the people and wildlife who call it home. 

“President Biden has taken an important step to safeguard the areas of the Western Arctic that are essential to our traditions, our communities and our families—and have been for countless generations. For too long, oil and gas executives have been prioritized over our voices and the needs of the communities who live here. The administration must continue to build on these critical protections for protecting wildlife habitat and the health of our Alaska Native communities, so that we may continue to sustain and pass along the traditions and activities of our elders for years to come,” said Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Founder, Grandmothers Growing Goodness and former mayor of Nuiqsut, AK

While this announcement is a historic and critical first step, we hope you will join us in the continued advocacy and action needed to fully address the threats posed by climate change and extractive industries in America’s Arctic.

Please join us in thanking President Biden for his leadership in conserving America’s Arctic, and in advocating for additional permanent protections for this irreplaceable landscape here