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U.S. President Joe Biden's administration announced Wednesday it is banning new oil and gas drilling over a vast region of Alaska home to iconic animal species.

The move comes a little over a year before the 2024 election, as Biden seeks to shore up his green credentials that were damaged by a decision earlier this year to greenlight a project by US energy giant ConocoPhillips in the same area.

The prohibition covers 10.6 million acres (4.3 million hectares), or 40 per cent, of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), an ecologically important region for grizzly and polar bears, caribou and hundreds of thousands of migratory birds.

"Alaska is home to many of America's most breathtaking natural wonders and culturally significant areas," Biden said in a statement.

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