Friday, February 22, 2013

Alaska Delegation Questions NPR-A Management Plan

Alaska’s congressional delegation gave a lukewarm welcome to a management plan, signed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Thursday, that allows access to oil and gas resources on nearly half of the 23 million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The petroleum reserve is an area about the size of Indiana on Alaska's North Slope. The plan lays out a roughly 50-50 split of land between conservation and petroleum development. In a statement, Begich said he was underwhelmed by Interior’s NPR-A plan, including its establishment of a working group to gather information from local stakeholders on possible adjustments to boundaries of the reserve’s special areas. “Despite their claims, it is clear the Interior Department yet again has made a decision about Alaska land use that ignores what Alaskans want,” Begich said. “I appreciate the strong and clear language on future pipeline routes through the NPR-A to carry Beaufort and Chukchi oil. But I am left wondering what good a working group will do if they haven’t been doing a good job of listening so far? During a speech before the state Legislature Thursday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski broadly criticized federal overreach on a variety of other Alaska issues, but said she was “encouraged the plan allows for potential development of a pipeline to the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.” Salazar says in an announcement that the plan also makes access provisions for a pipeline that could carry petroleum from drill sites in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to the trans-Alaska pipeline. Rep. Don Young acknowledged those provisions, but questioned the feasibility of building a pipeline under the plan’s restrictions. “Today’s decision by the Department of Interior is yet another game of smoke and mirrors. While the Department of Interior makes a point to allow for pipeline construction through the NPR-A, the potential routes do not appear realistic,” Young said in a statement...more

No comments: