NPR-A Working Group

This group provides the forum for North Slope communities to provide meaningful, regular input to on-going management decisions and proposed activities (e.g. oil and gas leasing) and developments (e.g. pipelines) in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A).

In response to comments and in consultation with local governments, Native corporations, and tribal entities, the group was established by the February 2013 NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (IAP/EIS).

The NPR-A Working Group consists of representatives from North Slope local governments, Native corporations, and tribal entities. BLM Alaska regularly attends meetings and oversees the contract for a facilitator, but BLM does not control or manage the group.

The group meets regularly and informs BLM about community concerns on a range of issues associated with activities within the NPR-A, including:

  • oil and gas leasing,
  • land use conflicts,
  • exploration, and
  • infrastructure projects supporting onshore and offshore oil and gas development, such as production facilities and pipelines.

The NPR-A Working Group also serves as a forum to collect additional scientific information and traditional knowledge about wildlife populations and needs. The group’s input can inform potential adjustments to the boundaries of special areas. Similarly, if wildlife migration patterns are altered by future development in the NPR-A, the working group can provide important feedback about areas where additional protection of surface values should be considered.

Working Group Meetings

Meetings were public from 2015 through July 2020, when the group decided private meetings would provide for more honest and effective dialogue. February 2014-July 2020 meeting minutes and agendas are available.

Subsistence Advisory Panel   

In October 1998, BLM Alaska established a Subsistence Advisory Panel (SAP) of volunteers to make recommendations to the BLM on behalf of their local or tribal governments regarding issues, concerns, and possible impacts to subsistence resources or harvesting due to oil industry activities. It also reviewed and disseminated information on scientific research projects in the NPR-A. In 2017, the administration identified a potentially excessive number of committees within the Department of the Interior for the Secretary's review. As a result, BLM Alaska's review of existing committees and panels revealed increased effectiveness and efficiency by discontinuing the SAP and transferring its roles and responsibilities to the NPR-A Working Group.

While no longer active, historical SAP documents and information are available through a request to the coordinator.