The Department of the Interior has stopped its planning work for the southern area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
DOI Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Stephen Allred said May 14 that the Bureau of Land Management will discontinue the planning effort.
“We came to this decision after listening to comments from local communities during our public outreach effort,” Allred said.
At public meetings last year, the agency said local residents expressed concern over potential impacts to subsistence resources, especially the western Arctic caribou herd, whose primary calving area is within the 9.2 million acre South NPR-A.
“Our decision to stop this effort underscores Secretary Kempthorne’s commitment to sound planning decisions and environmental protection,” Allred said. “The BLM weighed the practicality of energy development and determined it is not appropriate at this time in the South NPR-A.”
BLM resource assessments indicate the South NPR-A planning area contains limited oil reserves, estimated to be approximately 2.1 percent of the undiscovered oil in NPR-A. Although the area contains an estimated 27 percent of NPR-A’s undiscovered natural gas reserves, there is no transportation system to move the gas to market.