Delegation Welcomes Draft Environmental Impact Statement on NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, today issued the following statements after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for an updated Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). A Notice of Availability will appear in the Federal Register tomorrow, kicking off a 60-day public comment period that ends on January 21, 2020.

“This is a significant step toward a new plan that is more consistent with the legal purposes of the petroleum reserve, which holds the potential for billions of barrels of recoverable oil that can help refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline,” Murkowski said. “We have recently learned a great deal about the abundant resources of the NPR-A, and updating the deeply flawed 2013 IAP to provide greater access is necessary to reflect our opportunities for responsible development. We will review the draft EIS closely and encourage Alaskans to provide comments and participate in the public process.”

“Today’s announcement is welcome progress towards evaluating how to best realize the potential of Alaska’s vast energy resources,” Sullivan said. “The previous administration was dead set on locking up the NPR-A which, in turn, stunted our economy. The Department of Interior’s efforts to provide a new activity plan furthers our goal of responsible exploration and development, ensuring that Alaska’s resources help the U.S. remain an energy superpower. I encourage Alaskans to share their views throughout the comment period.” 

“An updated NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan is not only good news for Alaska, but is an encouraging development for our continued push to make America truly energy independent,” Young said. “The resources available in the NPR-A are vast, and very frankly, the Obama Administration’s 2013 IAP was an overly-restrictive disaster for Alaskans who know our lands can be responsibly developed. I look forward to reviewing the newly-published EIS and continuing my work with the Delegation and the Administration to ensure that Alaska’s resources can be utilized to meet the energy needs across our great nation.”

The NPR-A is administered by the Bureau of Land Management under the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act and other federal laws. It covers more than 23 million acres on the western North Slope of Alaska, an area larger than the state of Indiana.

In 2013, the Obama administration issued a highly restrictive IAP for the NPR-A that withdrew roughly half of the reserve from energy development.

In 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the NPR-A area contains an estimated 8.7 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil.

Comments on the EIS may be submitted via the e-Planning website, mail, fax, or at one of eight public meetings. Those meetings will be held in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and the North Slope communities of Utqiagvik, Atqasuk, Nuiqsut, Anaktuvuk Pass, Wainwright, and Point Lay. The schedule of public meetings is being finalized and will be posted on the NPR-A IAP e-Planning website here.