Biden administration to limit oil production on North Slope

Biden administration restricts future oil and gas leasing in 2.8 million acres of NPR-A
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 5:16 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Biden administration announced plans Sunday to limit oil drilling in arctic waters off Alaska’s North Slope.

An announcement from the Interior Department said President Joe Biden is withdrawing about 2.8 million acres of the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean near shore, making the area off limits for future oil and gas leasing indefinitely.

“Today’s withdrawal ensures this important habitat for whales, seals, polar bears, as well as for subsistence purposes, will be protected in perpetuity from the extractive development,” the statement from the Interior Department said.

According to the announcement, the Interior Department is also preparing a new set of rules that would designate special areas for “maximum protection” within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

“The proposed rule, which will be available for public comment in the coming months will consider additional protections for the more than 13 million acres within the reserve designated as Special Areas in recognition of their significant natural and historical values,” the statement said.

The news comes in advance of an expected major decision by the administration on whether ConocoPhillips Alaska will get the thumbs up to begin development of the Willow Project, an oil field that the company said could bring in as much as $17 billion in revenue.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.