The Bureau of Land Management said this week it intends to only allow oil and gas companies to drill in half of a vast, largely untrammeled swath of northern Alaska, instead of most of it, as the previous administration wanted to allow. BLM’s filing to a federal court in Alaska came less than one week after President Biden said Colorado’s late December firestorm was “supercharged” by climate change and represented “a blinking code red for our nation.”

The NPR-A includes 23-million-acre of tundra west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Prudhoe Bay oil field and has become a recent target of oil and gas drillers. Climate change caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels threatens wildlife and Native communities. It also threatens oil and gas infrastructure like the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and  — not to mention roads and people’s homes — as permafrost melt destabilizes the terrain. The Arctic is warming faster than the global average, and new research in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment found nearly 70% of infrastructure in the Northern Hemisphere’s permafrost regions are located in areas with high potential for near-surface melt in the next 28 years. (NPR-A: E&E $, Wall Street Journal $, Washington Examiner; Permafrost melt: Washington Post $, Reuters; Climate Signals background: Arctic amplification)