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NAEC Members Speak, Salazar Listens on Western Arctic Plan

On Monday August 13, Interior Secretary Salazar outlined a proposal that will provide balance to the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska.

NAEC Members Speak, Salazar Listens on Western Arctic Plan

Jim Campbell testifying at the Fairbanks Hearing

Thanks to you...

On Monday, August 13, 2012 Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a preferred alternative for the BLM's National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska IAP/EIS.  The interior department's preferred alternative, "B-2," is most similar to alternative B, the conservation alternative that Northern Center members advocated for.  See the BLM release here.


NAEC members preparing for the Fairbanks hearing 

We'd like to congratulate our hard-working members for being part of the 400,000 public comments (as well as 27 regional and local tribal resolutions, representing 90 villages calling for protection of caribou habitat) that made this decision happen. 

Sven Grage

NAEC board member, Sven Grage testifying at the Fairbanks Hearing

Alternative B-2 Includes:

  • A near 50:50 split of lands open and closed to oil and gas leasing in the Western Arctic.
  • Critical protection for the Western Arctic and Teshekpuk Caribou herd calving and post-calving grounds.
  • 5 Special Areas: Teshekpuk Lake, Colville River, Utukok River Uplands, Kasegaluk Lagoon, and Peard Bay to protect arctic wildlife from birds to bears.

Room for Improvement: 

  • B-2 does not include any of the 12 proposed Wild and Scenic Rivers described in Alternative B.  This leaves sections of the remarkable Utukok and Kokolik Rivers open for leasing with limited protections except for in the stream beds.
  • The Special Areas for Kasegaluk Lagoon and Peard Bay are smaller in B-2 than in B.  Protections vital to marine mammals and subsistence in this area were weakened because the areas unavailable for leasing no longer have restrictions on "no new non-subsistence infrastructure" including for potential Chuckchi Sea development.

Next steps: 

Stay tuned! This new alternative "B-2" will be analyzed and presented for public review as the preferred alternative for the final NPR-A IAP/EIS by the end of this year.  Once released, the public will have 30 days to comment before the final decision is made by the secretary.

Acting BLM Director, Mike Pool told reporters "With its energy supplies, importance to Alaska Natives, and wildlife resources, it is vital that we continue to hear from the many stakeholders and the public as we work to strike the right management balance in the NPR-A."  

Keep up the conversation!



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