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Fairbanks NPR-A Hearings a Slam Dunk for Conservation

On Wednesday, May 23, the BLM hosted a public hearing on their new plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Conservation advocates turned up and spoke eloquently for Alternative B. Comments for conservation outnumbered development 6:1. There is still time to comment before June 1!

Fairbanks NPR-A Hearings a Slam Dunk for Conservation

Photo of NPR-A by Richard Kahn

Hearing Report

On Wednesday May 23rd, the BLM hosted public hearings on its latest plan for the NPR-A.  Fairbanks advocates showed up and spoke up.  Advocates of the conservation alternative (B) outnumbered the drill-baby-drill alternative (D) 6:1.  Thank you to all who came for your support and eloquent testimony.  Substantive comments were made and the hearing held a friendly tone.  It was a great turnout that we hope will help support BLM in making good choices in its plans for the wonderful Western Arctic. 

Didn't make it?                                          Get your comments in by June 1!             Here are some talking points: 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.     <!--[endif]-->Urge the BLM to adopt Alternative B in the final plan.  This is the only alternative in the draft plan that properly balances future oil and gas development in some areas with strong and reliably effective protections for the exceptional wildlife habitats, subsistence resources, wild river and wilderness values of the NPR-A that are within Alt. B's Special Areas.  

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2.     <!--[endif]-->Insist on safeguarding the entire expanded Teshekpuk Lake Special Area as unavailable for leasing, including the critical calving and insect relief areas as well as globally significant important bird areas for molting and nesting in wetlands areas around the lake.  Alt. B is the only one that makes the whole area (not just the lake bed) unavailable for leasing.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->3.     <!--[endif]-->Underscore the importance of protecting coastal areas like the Peard Bay (a new Special Area) and Kasegaluk Lagoon Special Areas for marine life and subsistence users.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->4.     <!--[endif]-->Protect the wildest country in the southern part of the Reserve in the Upper Colville River and expanded Utukok Uplands Special Area covering the DeLong Mountains/Arctic Foothills. These areas of lower oil and gas potential support calving, insect relief and migration routes of the Western Arctic caribou herd, as well as key habitat for wolves, wolverines and bears.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->5.     <!--[endif]-->Support managing lands for their wilderness characteristics, especially for Special Areas in the prior South plan area (expanded Utukok Uplands and Upper Colville River), and for values like recreation, solitude, and intact ecosystems throughout the Reserve leasing.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->6.     <!--[endif]-->Support Alt. B because it is the only alternative that provides adequate conservation measures to protect wildlife and their habitats by making key Special Areas unavailable for leasing which correctly includes protecting the surface from permanent industrial infrastructure including roads, pipelines, and staging or support bases which pose negative impacts to fish and wildlife from direct and cumulative habitat loss, disturbance from noisy operations, and increase risks of oil spills and contamination.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->7.     <!--[endif]-->Raise concern about the cumulative effects to wildlife, subsistence and other values from dangerous development like offshore oil and gas development including pipelines, roads, and staging areas within NPR-A, and from schemes like the State's of Alaska's Road to Umiat.  The proposed Road to Umiat would have devastating impacts on subsistence, recreation, and the core biological values that this plan attempts to protect, and its cumulative impacts need to be fully addressed. 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->8.     <!--[endif]-->Support BLM's decision to keep coal and hardrock mining off-limits and outside the scope of the plan because Congress has closed it.   Coal extraction would provide a new source of greenhouse gases from the most polluting fossil fuel causing global warming , and the cumulative impacts of mining and roads risk unacceptable impacts to the Western Arctic Caribou herd already subject to rapid climate change impacts.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->9.     <!--[endif]-->The Arctic is on the frontline of global climate change impacts, and the plan does a good job to acknowledge the stresses it poses to the environment.  However, the draft EIS fails to quantify Greenhouse Gas Pollution emissions in the Reserve, as well as the GHG emissions from the oil and gas consumption elsewhere.   The draft EIS also fails to quantify air emissions and their impacts from future the oil and gas operations in the Reserve and cumulative impacts across the North Slope and surrounding seas.  

<!--[if !supportLists]-->10.  <!--[endif]-->Support Alternative B’s nomination of 12 Wild and Scenic Rivers: Part of the Colville, the Nigu, Etivluk, Ipnavik, Kuna, Kiligwa, Nuka, Awuna, Kokolik, and Utukok rivers and Driftwood and Carbon creeks.  Wild and Scenic River status would mean protection for at least ½ mile on each bank to protect river-related values.  

Learn more about the Special Areas HERE!

Read it for yourself!

Click here to read the NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement

Click here to read the newsletter (short!)

Here's how to submit comments:

ONLINE: http://npracomments.engage-sites.com/

IN THE MAIL:

NPR-A IAP/EIS Comments
AECOM Project Office
1835 South Bragaw Street, Suite 490
Anchorage, AK 99501

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