FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News Release No. 07-31
Contact: Ruth McCoard, 907-271-3322 Date: 8/20/07
Sharon Wilson, 907-271-4418
BLM-Alaska Seeks Public Comments for
Draft Supplemental Plan for Northeast NPR-A
Anchorage—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will announce in the Federal Register on August 24 the official release of its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to address impact of oil and gas activities in the Northeast portion of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The public comment period on the draft document will extend from August 24 through October 23, 2007.
“Petroleum in the 4.6-million-acre Northeast NPR-A is important for meeting our nation’s energy demands,” said Tom Lonnie, BLM-Alaska State Director. “This Supplemental Plan will allow us to consider the lands appropriate for leasing and the restrictions we should place on exploration and development that will result in petroleum production while protecting the area’s important resources.”
The BLM began developing the Supplement in December 2006 in response to a September 25, 2006, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska decision that the 2005 Northeast NPR-A Amended Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (IAP/EIS) failed to adequately address cumulative impacts.
In early 2007, the North Slope Borough signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BLM that gave it the formal status of a Cooperating Agency for this planning effort. “The North Slope Borough has contributed valuable information, particularly on public health issues.” said Lonnie. “Their scientists have reviewed and submitted comments that have been used throughout the document.”
The BLM used essentially the same alternatives as were in the agency’s Amended IAP/EIS, but expanded its consideration of additional measures that would minimize impacts, as well as consider results from scientific studies completed since 2005. The additional information and analysis will allow the BLM to complete a plan that provides for sound management of Northeast NPR-A.
The BLM manages 258 million surface acres – more land than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1.8 billion, 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, and cultural resources on the public lands.