Sierra Club Statement on Biden Administration Protections for Western Arctic, Arctic Ocean


Ian Brickey,

WASHINGTON, DC – This afternoon, reports citing White House sources announced that the Biden Administration was set to announce protections for 16 million acres of landscapes in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and Arctic Ocean, prohibiting oil and gas leasing and development in both locations. The announcement comes as the administration prepares to make a final decision on whether or not to allow ConocoPhillips to move forward with its controversial oil and gas operation on Alaska’s North Slope, known as the Willow project. Willow would be one of the largest oil and gas drilling projects on public lands, and could emit an estimated 287 million tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere over the next 30 years.

In response, Sierra Club Lands Protection Program Director Athan Manuel released the following statement:

“This is a critical moment when our country must be speeding up its transition from oil and gas to clean energy. These unparalleled protections for Alaskan landscapes and waters are the right decision at the right time, and we thank the Biden Administration for taking this significant step.

“However, the benefits of these protections can be undone just as quickly by approval of oil and gas projects on public lands, and right now, no proposal poses a bigger threat to lands, wildlife, communities, and our climate than ConocoPhillips’ Willow project. Oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters must end — full stop. The eyes of the world are watching to see whether this administration will live up to its climate promises — it is imperative that they do.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit