Senator Supports Protection of Teshekpuk Lake area, Welcomes Early Oil Leasing South of Lake to Help Gas Line Advance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski today welcomed the issuance of the final rule by the Bureau of Land Management covering oil and gas leasing in the northeast planning area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The ruling should open the area south of the lake to early oil and gas leasing.

“I support the plan because it is balanced and fair. It will fully protect subsistence activities, while also permitting early leasing of areas south of the lake, areas likely to hold huge amounts of natural gas that will be vitally needed to make an Alaska natural gas pipeline more economically viable. It is a good outcome for residents, the State, the energy industry and America,” said Senator Murkowski.

The final plan calls for not opening 219,000 acres of Teshekpuk Lake and its islands and deferring any decision on leasing of another 430,000 acres north and east of the lake to the Arctic coast for 10 years. The plan does call for leasing the rest of the northeast planning area with a sale this fall – a sale that will provide full protections for polar bears and other wildlife. The plan has won support from the North Slope Borough and others. It is the result of a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that the courts required BLM to undertake in 2006.