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As Biden weighs in on Willow, he blocks other oil drilling in Alaska

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden will prevent or limit oil drilling in 16 million acres in Alaska and the Arctic Ocean, a government official said Sunday.

The announcement, expected Sunday evening, comes as regulators prepare to announce a final decision on the Willow Project, a controversial oil drilling plan being pushed by ConocoPhillips.

The official requested anonymity to discuss the conservation effort before it is officially revealed.

The plan consists of two parts. First, the official said, Biden will ban drilling in nearly 3 million acres of the Arctic Ocean and close off the rest of its federal waters to oil exploration.

Second, the administration will develop new rules for more than 13 million acres in a vast tract of land known as the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. The official said the area includes Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Highlands, Colville River, Kasegaluk Lagoon and Peard Bay Special Areas.

It’s unclear whether the announcement will appease environmentalists, especially young activists who have flooded social media with criticism of the Willow Project, if the government finally announces that the Willow Project will move forward.

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Willow would become Alaska’s largest new oil field in decades, according to ConocoPhillips, producing up to 180,000 barrels per day.

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