The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is taking steps to thwart oil development in the remote reaches of Alaska by canceling leases to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and setting up plans for more conservation in the state’s petroleum reserve.

The moves come in the wake of the administration’s controversial decision to approve ConocoPhillips’s 600-million-barrel Willow oil project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The initiatives announced Wednesday target territory in northern Alaska, long prized for its oil and gas potential — but also for its rich habitat, home to waterfowl, caribou, polar bears and other wildlife.

"As the climate crisis warms the Arctic more than twice as fast as the rest of the world, we have a responsibility to protect this treasured region for all ages,” the president said in a statement.