"Earlier today I took action to make sure that one of America's greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine not only for Alaska, but for America – Bristol Bay – is preserved for future generations," Obama said in a video message posted on the White House Blog Tuesday, adding that the withdraw "prevents conservation of this area for any oil or gas leasing for purposes of exploration, development or production."
Bristol Bay's support for the commercial fishing industry amounts to $2 billion. Moreover, the bay provides 40 percent of US wild-caught seafood, according to the blog post.
In 2010, Obama signed a memorandum that temporarily banned oil and gas leases in the Bristol Bay area up to 2017. Obama's action on Tuesday executed under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act made the ban permanent.