NEWS BULLETIN

April 15, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 39April 2003

BLM to relax restrictions for northeastern NPR-A, open more acreage to leasing

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said today that it intends to amend its 1998 land use plan for the northeast corner of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to more closely resemble the stipulations being developed for the northwestern part of the reserve. BLM also intends to open more of the 4.6 million acres in the northeast to oil and gas exploration, including areas near Teshekpuk Lake.

“BLM geologists and petroleum experts believe that areas currently off-limits for exploration in the reserve may contain more than two billion barrels of technically-recoverable petroleum,” the agency said in a statement.

“Prescriptive stipulations are very specific and in some cases inappropriately or needlessly restrictive. Performance-based stipulations often can accomplish the same goal, but are more flexible,” BLM said, noting that exploration in sensitive habitat areas can be done in the winter when wildlife is not present.

The agency said it will release a schedule for revising the current plan “soon,” allowing two opportunities for public comment.

BLM will prepare a “supplemental environmental impact statement” and expects the entire process to be completed by the end of 2004.


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