BLM Finalizes Alaska Activity Plan
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced earlier this week that it has finalized a new Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A).
BLM said the new IAP includes important safeguards for wildlife and sensitive resources, while allowing for responsible oil and gas leasing across 18.6 million acres of the NPR-A. Safeguards include no surface occupancy, controlled surface use, timing limitations and provide for new and emerging technologies to access subsurface resources while maintaining important surface values, BLM noted.
“This action is a significant achievement in delivering on our commitment to provide energy for America, from America,” the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Casey Hammond, said in a government statement.
“With this decision, we are expanding access to our nation's great energy potential and providing for economic opportunities and job creation for both Alaska Natives and our nation,” he added.
Commenting on the development, BLM Alaska State Director Chad Padgett said, “we developed a plan that is responsive to state and local government requests and needs”.
“Our team of subject matter experts worked diligently to provide a robust environmental review that achieves a balance between conservation stewardship, being a good neighbor and responsibly developing our natural resources to boost local and national economies,” he added.
BLM generally conducts annual oil and gas lease sales in the NPR-A. In May 1999, the BLM held its first NPR-A lease sale since 1984, offering nearly 3.9 million acres within the Northeast Planning Area. Since 1999, the BLM has held lease sales in both the Northwest and Northeast Planning Areas. The new IAP will better balance the protection of the environment, wildlife, subsistence uses, local concerns and oil and gas opportunities offered in future lease sales, according to BLM.
Established in 1946, BLM manages one in every ten acres of land in the United States and approximately 30 percent of the Nation’s minerals, according to its website. The organization’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, its website states.
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