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NEWS BULLETIN

May 28, 2004 --- Vol. 10, No. 52May 2004

Judge OK’s Bureau of Land Management June 2 NPR-A lease sale

U.S. District Court Judge James Singleton ruled today that the Bureau of Land Management’s National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska lease sale can go ahead June 2 as scheduled, but enjoined the Department of the Interior “from approving any applications for permits or any other authorizations for activities to occur prior to the termination” of litigation filed by Northern Alaska Environmental Center, National Audubon Society, the Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League and Center for Biological Diversity.

The plaintiffs have challenged BLM’s final integrated activity plan/environmental impact statement, arguing that the agency did not give a “hard look” to each possible lease in its environmental impact statement. The judge ruled that the Department of the Interior must notify prospective lessees of the pending litigation, because rights under such leases are contingent on resolution of the litigation, “and that no right to drill or build roads on any lease will be permitted until the termination of this litigation.”

Surface occupancy of leases will not be allowed until the litigation is settled, so BLM will not be allowed to accept applications for permits to drill, geological permits to conduct seismic activities, right of way permits, etc.

Persily called back into state service

On a more personal note, Larry Persily, Petroleum News’ government affairs editor, is leaving the paper to go back into state government.

Persily, who has been a Juneau-based journalist for a number of years, was named a special assistant to the commissioner of the Department of Revenue, and then a deputy director, in the last administration.

He is returning to Revenue as a special assistant to Commissioner Bill Corbus, effective June 14.

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