The U.S. Department of the Interior today approved a plan amendment for the northeast corner of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska expanding areas where no surface occupancy will be allowed. Under the plan amendment lease stipulations for the northeast area will be similar to those adopted in 2004 for the northwest area of NPR-A.
The amendment was developed by the Bureau of Land Management, which manages NPR-A. The record of decision was signed Jan. 11 by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Chad Calvert.
BLM Alaska State Director Henri Bisson said the record of decision contains a number of changes based on “comments from local government, North Slope residents and various organizations.” The changes, he said in a statement, “have been included specifically to benefit subsistence users and wildlife values in the northeast planning area.”
The no surface occupancy restriction has been expanded from 217,000 to 242,000 acres in goose molting habitat north of Teshekpuk Lake. An additional 47,000 acres of caribou habitat and calving area southwest of the lake has been designated no surface occupancy; there was already 141,000 acres of protected caribou calving habitat southeast of the lake.
Caribou movement corridors have also been expanded by 9,700 acres northwest of Teshekpuk Lake, reflecting 56,000 acres of corridor protection.
The record of decision and maps are available on BLM’s Web site at www.ak.blm.gov.
BLM said the decision opens the way for an additional NPR-A oil and gas lease sale, probably this fall.