National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska: Integrated Activity Plan — Record of Decision

Dept. of the Interior

[Environment News Service]  Exploration and development of lands containing about three-quarters of the economically recoverable oil in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska will be permitted, under a Record of Decision signed today by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar…

At the same time, the decision protects natural resources in the 23-million-acre Reserve. The protected resources include critical areas for sensitive bird populations from all seven continents and for the roughly 400,000 caribou in the Teshekpuk Lake and Western Arctic Caribou Herds. Subsistence users in more than 40 villages in northwest Alaska rely on these caribou herds.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Reserve has between 5.9 and 13.2 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil with a mean estimate of 9.3 billion barrels.

The decision makes all lands along the Chukchi Sea coast, most of the lands along the Beaufort Sea coast, and other lands available for pipeline route applications and other infrastructure that would support offshore oil and gas development.

The document provides explicit confirmation that pipelines carrying oil or gas from operations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas can be constructed through the NPR-A in the future.

The decision creates the Peard Bay Special Area and enlarges the Teshekpuk Lake and Utukok River Uplands Special Areas, expanding protected Special Areas in the NPR-A from 8.3 million acres to 13.35 million acres…

The plan released today indicates that 11 million acres, including approximately 3.1 million acres within the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, will be dedicated to protecting critical areas for waterfowl and other birds and will not be made available for oil and gas leasing…
The plan, detailed in the Final Integrated Activity Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement, IAP/EIS, for the Reserve, is the first management plan that covers the entire reserve, including 9.2 million acres in the southwest area. Previous plans covered only the northeast and northwest planning areas…

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