The department’s plan makes available some 87 percent of the reserve’s acreage for energy development while conserving the region’s unique fish and wildlife heritage. Photo by Dusan Smetana.
The TRCP praised the Department of the Interior’s consideration of unique fish and wildlife values in their plan to develop the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the federal government’s direction for the region, which encompasses both valuable energy resources and irreplaceable fish and wildlife populations and habitat. Along with other sportsmen’s groups, the TRCP had previously submitted comments and recommendations on the draft plan.
“America’s ‘last frontier’ can remain the wild and wildlife-rich place that so many sportsmen treasure while still providing for our nation’s energy needs through this responsible development approach,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh.
Located on Alaska’s North Slope, the reserve is nearly 23 million acres in size and is the single-largest block of federally managed land in the United States. It is especially important to sportsmen because it contains unique and valuable habitat for fish and wildlife.
Millions of migratory birds use the area around Teshekpuk Lake for nesting, molting and staging and migrate throughout the United States to winter in nearly every state. The Utukok River Uplands also provide key habitat for the Western Arctic caribou herd, the largest in Alaska, currently estimated at 348,000 animals.
The department’s pursuit of “Alternative B-2” in the plan conserves the most important habitat in the reserve while sacrificing little in terms of oil production. In particular, it makes the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area unavailable for leasing.
The TRCP supports the responsible development of oil and gas resources in appropriate areas. The TRCP’s set of principles on this issue, “FACTS for Fish and Wildlife,” provide guidance for responsible energy development that upholds our nation’s shared natural resources and unique outdoor legacy.
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