Biden administration shrinks eligible drilling area at Alaska reserve

Apr 26, 2022

The Biden administration will reverse a Trump-era plan that would have opened up 82% of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) for oil and gas exploration. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had indicated it would return to a plan released under the Obama administration that would allow the government to lease up to 52 percent of the reserve. The BLM made it official yesterday by issuing a formal Record of Decision.

The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska was set aside in 1923 by President Harding as an emergency oil reserve for the Navy. It was later transferred to the BLM, which can sell leases for companies to drill for oil. The reserve consists of approximately 23 million acres on Alaska’s north slope which contains Teshekpuk Lake, an area “of critical importance for nesting, breeding, and molting waterfowl and the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd,” according to the BLM.

The Trump administration had pushed to expand drilling in the Arctic, both at the NPR-A and more controversially in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The BLM says its decision to revert to Obama’s 2013 plan will offer “greater protections to environmental values and subsistence uses in the NPR-A while still allowing for oil and gas exploration and development consistent with BLM’s management responsibilities.”

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Biden administration shrinks eligible drilling area at Alaska reserve

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Quote of the day

”We should pay more attention. We’re just mistreating Mother Nature—that’s like being ugly to your mama.” 

—Dolly Parton, American singer & songwriter, National Geographic

Picture this

mushroom-shaped rock formations in the desert with nightsky above

Step into a fantasy world of strange rock formations and fossils at @BLMNewMexico Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness. Time and the elements have weathered the rocks in the form of pinnacles, spires, cap rocks and “cracked eggs.” Photo by Jessica Fridrich

(featured image: Aerial view of the BLM-managed National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Photo by Bob Wick, BLM)