Anchorage, AK

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced yesterday that the agency will reverse plans by the previous administration to expand oil leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A). The agency also said it will include stipulations in any new plans to protect threatened and endangered species.

“The Trump administration opened most of the Reserve’s 22 million acres to oil and gas drilling despite the implications for the climate crisis and for wildlife, including threatened polar bears that den in the Reserve,” said Defenders of Wildlife’s Alaska Program Director, Nicole Whittington-Evans. “This is a welcome rejection of that move and a first step toward fundamentally changing the Reserve’s management from abetting a climate and biodiversity catastrophe to one of responsible stewardship that protects wildlife and local subsistence activities.”

Polar Bears
Debbie Tubridy

If confirmed in a new record of decision (ROD), this preferred alternative would revert management of the NPR-A to the 2013 IAP, while including specific more protective lease stipulations and operating procedures for threatened and endangered species from the 2020 IAP.
“This decision reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s priority of reviewing existing oil and gas programs to ensure balance on America’s public lands and waters to benefit current and future generations,” stated BLM on its website.

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Vice President, Communications
(202) 772-3255


Polar bear with cubs
Northern Lights Over Brooks Range Alaska
Caribou in Denali


Sea otters
Washington, DC

Defenders Applauds Significant Increases for Endangered Species, Wildlife Refuges in Initial Interior Appropriations Bill

Defenders of Wildlife is encouraged to see significant investments made towards addressing the biodiversity crisis in the first version of the House Interior and Environment appropriations bill—released yesterday—which if passed would take key programs to their highest funding levels ever.
Black-footed ferret, National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center
Washington, DC

New Defenders of Wildlife Report Shows Funding is Key to Recovering Endangered Species

Today Defenders of Wildlife published a new in-depth report, Tackling the Extinction Crisis: Increasing Appropriations to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management