The US Bureau of Land Management issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and integrated activity plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) on Mar. 29.
It will consider possible future oil and gas leasing, restrictions on oil and gas activities and other BLM-authorized land uses, possible expansion of special use areas, and nominations for rivers to be included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, BLM’s Alaska state office said.
Public comments will be accepted through June 1, and public meetings will be held in several Alaska communities, it indicated. “The remarkable resources in the NPR-A call for a sound plan, which fully considers the input of local communities and Alaska Natives, and enables the nation to harness these domestic energy supplies with the right safeguards in place,” said Bud Cribley, BLM’s Alaska state director. “We need the public’s input to ensure the best management plan is put in place for this area.”
He noted that this is the first draft plan which considers the entire NPR-A, including BLM-managed acreage in its southwestern portion which was not included previously. The draft plan presents four alternatives, ranging from offering the entire reserve for oil and gas leasing with appropriate protections to taking no action and continuing current management approaches.
“From key oil and gas reserves, to the Teshekpuk and Western Arctic caribou herds, to the world-class breeding and nesting ground for numerous species of waterfowl, the NPR-A contains resources that must be considered and balanced in a way that will best meet the present and future needs of our nation, Alaska, and the local residents who depend on these lands for their subsistence way of life,” Cribley said.
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