Department of Interior Conserves Arctic Wildlife Habitat; Protects Subsistence Hunting

DENVER — The Department of Interior announced plans to conserve important wildlife habitat in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) and north-central Alaska’s Brooks Range. The 23 million-acre NPR-A is the largest single unit of public lands in the nation and the new limitations on oil and gas development are designed to conserve vital habitat for polar bears, muskox, Arctic caribou, and millions of migratory birds. In the Brooks Range, wildlife migration routes were threatened by a proposed 210-mile industrial corridor, Ambler Road, leading to a large copper deposit, which the Biden administration recommended halting.

“The administration has taken an important step forward in meeting its Congressional directive of balancing oil and gas development with the conservation of land, water and wildlife, and support of our outdoor heritage. The conservation of 13 million acres in the NPR-A will ensure that important habitat continues to support thriving wildlife in the western Arctic for generations to come,” said David Willms, associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “This announcement follows months of discussions with Alaska Native Tribes and communities, hunters, anglers, and industry experts and will ensure that the lands and waters will remain accessible for subsistence hunting and fishing.”

“Halting the Ambler Road project is a victory for fish and wildlife, Indigenous communities, and all who depend on this ecosystem for survival. More than 60 Alaska Native communities would have experienced restrictions on subsistence hunting if the Ambler Road was built,” said Garrit Voggesser, director of Tribal partnerships at the National Wildlife Federation. “We applaud the administration for engaging in meaningful and collaborative nation-to-nation talks with Alaska Native communities so that the wildlife and cultural resources those communities depend on are safeguarded for future generations.”


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