Print Page

News Release
BLM-Alaska State Office

BLM-Alaska Office of Communications, 222 W. 7th Avenue #13, Anchorage AK 99513-7504
Tel: 907-271-5555 Fax: 907-271-5421

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                   News Release No. 07-21
Contact: Sharon Wilson, 907.271.4418                                                                             Date: 05/14/07
               Doug Stockdale, 907.474.2264

Department of the Interior Stops Work on South NPR-A Plan 

Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Stephen Allred announced today that the Bureau of Land Management will discontinue its planning effort for the South portion of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. 

“We came to this decision after listening to comments from local communities during our public outreach effort,” said Allred in his announcement.

At public meetings held last year, local residents expressed concern over potential impacts to subsistence resources, especially the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, whose primary calving area is within the remote 9.2-million-acre South NPR-A. 

 “Our decision to stop this effort underscores Secretary Kempthorne’s commitment to sound planning decisions and environmental protection,” said Allred. “The BLM weighed the practicality of energy development, and determined that it is not appropriate at this time in the South NPR-A.”

BLM resource assessments indicate the South NPR-A planning area contains limited oil reserves—approximately 2.1 percent of the undiscovered oil in the NPR-A. Although the area contains an estimated 27 percent of the NPR-A’s undiscovered gas reserves, there is no transportation system to move the gas to market. The BLM is continuing work on its Supplemental Plan for the Northeast portion of the NPR-A.

In 1923, President Harding set aside this 23-million-acre petroleum reserve in Alaska to provide an emergency oil supply for the U.S. Navy. Now called the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), it is managed by the Department of the Interior for the future development of national oil and gas reserves.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages 258 million surface acres — more land than any other federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including 83.5 million surface acres in Alaska. The Bureau also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands. 

# # #

Last updated: 06-22-2007