On Tuesday, the Biden Administration announced that it would be suspending oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). Leasing began in 2017 when the Trump administration opened the wildlife refuge to oil and gas development in an effort to generate revenue. $1.1 billion was projected but the leasing has only realized $14 million, less than one tenth of a percent of the estimate, due to lack of interest by major petroleum companies.
On the same day, the Biden administration decided to move forward with approving a massive oil project a few hundred miles west of the ANWR. The project, led by ConocoPhillips, is valued at $2 billion and marks a contradiction in the Biden administration’s climate policy that has activists concerned. Despite the progress made in suspending oil and gas leases in the ANWR, climate groups and indigenous Alaskans say that the fight for the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve’s protection is far from over.