Biden Administration to Designate 2.8 Million Acres in Arctic Ocean off-limits for Oil and Gas Leasing

Monday, March 13, 2023

The U.S. Department of the Interior said Monday that President Biden would take action to designate about 2.8 million acres in the Arctic Ocean nearshore the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) as indefinitely off-limits for future oil and gas leasing. 

This action will complete protections for the entire Beaufort Sea Planning Area, building upon President Obama’s 2016 withdrawal under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect the Chukchi Sea Planning Area and the majority of the Beaufort Sea, the Department of the Interior said.

"The withdrawal will ensure this important habitat for whales, seals, polar bears, as well as for subsistence purposes, will be protected in perpetuity from extractive development. The withdrawal will provide additional protections for Teshekpuk Lake, guarding against the potential that future Beaufort Sea oil and gas developments would seek to build pipeline infrastructure into the NPR-A," the DOI said.

Reducing the size fo Willow Project

On Monday, the Interior Department also issued a Record of Decision regarding ConocoPhillips' proposed Willow Master Development Plan in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). 

The Department is substantially reducing the size of the project by denying two of the five drill sites proposed by ConocoPhillips, which is seeking to develop oil and gas leases it acquired beginning in the late 1990s. 

The company will also relinquish rights to approximately 68,000 acres of its existing leases in the NPR-A, including approximately 60,000 acres in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, the DOI said.

Categories: Offshore Energy Activity Arctic North America Regulations

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