Trump Administration Updates Plan for Responsible Energy Development in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – In support of the Trump Administration’s agenda for a stronger and more energy independent nation, the Bureau of Land Management has finalized a new Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A). The new IAP includes important safeguards for wildlife and sensitive resources, while allowing for responsible oil and gas leasing across 18.6 million acres of the NPR-A. These safeguards include no surface occupancy, controlled surface use, timing limitations and provide for new and emerging technologies to access subsurface resources while maintaining important surface values.
“This action is a significant achievement in delivering on our commitment to provide energy for America, from America,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Casey Hammond. “With this decision, we are expanding access to our nation's great energy potential and providing for economic opportunities and job creation for both Alaska Natives and our nation.”
“We developed a plan that is responsive to state and local government requests and needs,” said BLM Alaska State Director Chad Padgett. “Our team of subject matter experts worked diligently to provide a robust environmental review that achieves a balance between conservation stewardship, being a good neighbor, and responsibly developing our natural resources to boost local and national economies.”
The new IAP, signed by the Secretary Dec. 31, closes more than 4 million acres to leasing. The Teshekpuk Lake Special Area is protected by no surface occupancy stipulations and timing limitations mitigating impacts on caribou calving and important bird habitats. The geographic boundary and associated protections of the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area were adjusted to account for changing calving distribution of the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd. Additional stipulations ensure adequate ramps and pullouts on roads are required in future development proposals to facilitate subsistence hunting. In addition, important rivers include large set back areas extending miles in some places and additional protections for their free flow and water quality.
The IAP and the environmental impact statement includes special measures to address concerns heard on the draft environmental impact statement from nearby communities, like leasing deferral areas, setbacks along important subsistence rivers, flexibility for potential community infrastructure projects, and special management for split estate lands near communities and Native allotments where no surface occupancy stipulations can be waived by the landowner. Additional stipulations ensure adequate ramps and pullouts on roads are required in future development proposals to facilitate subsistence hunting.
The NPR-A is the largest area of federally managed land in the United States. Originally called Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4, the area was set aside for its potential petroleum value by President Warren G. Harding in 1923. The 1976 Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act designated the roughly 23-million-acre area specifically for oil and gas development, renamed it the NPR-A and transferred administration from the Navy to the BLM.
Recent estimates determined there are 8.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 25 trillion feet of recoverable natural gas. It serves as a critical role in both American energy prominence and national security.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $111 billion in economic output across the country in fiscal year 2019—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 498,000 jobs.