Resource Development Council

RDC Action Alert:
National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Planning Effort

Read RDC's Comment Letter

Comment deadline was October 1, 2010


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin preparation of an Integrated Activity Plan and an Environmental Impact Statement for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The new plan will incorporate the most current information and develop management goals, objectives, and actions that would be consistent across the entire 22 million-acre NPR-A. The plan will also take into account emerging issues such as climate change and the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This planning effort will help identify management actions to mitigate impacts of oil and gas leasing and other activities that may occur in NPR-A in the future. The result of this planning effort will supersede the current plans for the Northwest (2004) NPR-A, Northeast (2008) NPR-A, and Colville River Special Area (2008).

Through public scoping, BLM is requesting input to the planning process. The public scoping period began July 28, 2010 and will close Friday, October 1. Public meetings are planned for North Slope communities, as well as Anchorage and Fairbanks in September.

Action requested:

Please testify at an upcoming public hearing and/or submit written comments by email, mail or fax encouraging BLM to provide access to the richest oil and gas prospects in NPR-A. In addition, support opening NPR-A to mineral entry, as well as industrial mineral and coal leasing.

Send written comments to:

NPR-A Planning Team
Bureau of Land Management
222 W. 7th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99513

FAX: 907-271-5479


Public Hearings:

Anchorage: Thursday, September 23, Campbell Creek Science Center, (Open house 6:30 pm, hearing 7:00 pm)

For more information on the planning process, visit

Points to consider:

  • Given NPR-A was specifically designated by Congress for the production of energy resources and the need for new oil production has increased, it is vital that BLM provide access to NPR-A’s greatest prospects.
  • All of the producing fields on the North Slope are located within 25 miles of the coast. Eliminating substantial acreage within the “Barrow Arch” could preclude the discovery of a major deposit in NPR-A.
  • Industry’s track record on the North Slope and the technological advances of the past decade, which have greatly reduced the development footprint, support full leasing in NPR-A.
  • Seasonal stipulations, standards and other protective measures could be applied to safeguard sensitive areas.
  • New oil and gas production from NPR-A would extend the life of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and improve the prospects for the gas pipeline.
  • Projected North Slope production declines could be reversed, depending upon how much additional oil is produced from NPR-A, but such potential could be severely compromised if access is not provided to oil-rich areas.
  • BLM should make provisions for transportation corridors within NPR-A to facilitate future oil and gas development in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and other natural resource development in NPR-A.
  • Given the outstanding track record of the mining industry in the arctic and sub-arctic, the technological advances of the past decade, and the growing need for strategic minerals, all of NPR-A should be open to mineral entry, as well as industrial mineral and coal leasing.
  • South NPR-A is an important part of the 80-year old petroleum reserve —specifically set aside because of its energy and mineral potential. Access to this area should be accommodated with provisions to protect important surface values and traditional ways of life.
  • The oil and mining industries have proven they can operate in a manner that protects the environment. The Arctic wildlife and environment can and will be preserved while petroleum and mineral resources are developed in NPR-A.
  • Energy and mineral development in NPR-A would benefit the economy by creating increased revenues and employment, while enhancing national security.
  • BLM should refrain from designating highly-restrictive conservation units in NPR-A, given the nation’s growing need for energy and minerals, as well as the potential existence of world-class energy and mineral deposits in the reserve. Alaska already has an overwhelming majority of the nation’s public lands closed to development.

Comment deadline was October 1, 2010

Read RDC's Comment Letter