The area in question in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge had previously been leased to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. The land is home to wolves, caribou herds and more than 200 species of birds.
“On day one of this administration, President Biden directed us to look at the oil and gas leases sold in the refuge by the previous administration,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said on a call with reporters Wednesday.
“What we have found in our analysis is that the lease sale itself was seriously flawed and based on a number of fundamental legal deficiencies.”
Haaland also announced a proposed rule to protect some 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve — Alaska (NPR-A). The protections were previously announced shortly before the administration approved the controversial Willow Project, a massive oil and gas drilling project in Alaska that was fiercely opposed by environmentalists but backed by Alaska’s state government and congressional delegation.
“The proposal would prohibit any new leasing in 10.6 million acres, which is more than 40 percent of the reserve,” Haaland told reporters on the call.
Read more in a full report at TheHill.com.