Press Release – BLM Falls Short of Comprehensive Analysis of Proposed Western Arctic Development
Greater Mooses Tooth Draft Avoids Options that Would Protect Wildlife Habitat and Subsistence Needs
WASHINGTON, DC (February 20, 2014) – The Conservation Lands Foundation, a national conservation group, expressed disappointment to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for falling to take a comprehensive look at all available options for a proposed oil and gas development project in the western Arctic. The Alaska Office of the Bureau of Land Management released draft alternatives for the development of the first commercial oil production facility on federal land within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Reserve).
The proposed Greater Mooses Tooth development is located in the wildlife rich northeastern corner of the Reserve near the Colville River Delta and both the Teshekpuk Lake and Colville River “Special Areas” areas largely off limits to oil and gas development due to their exceptional wildlife and subsistence values. The region includes key habitat for migratory birds and waterfowl, a number of fish species and the Teshekpuk Lake Caribou Herd, one of North America’s largest. Additionally, Fish Creek, an important area for native subsistence, is within the project area boundaries.
“We’re pleased that the BLM included a roadless development option, but by failing to even consider seasonal drilling at Greater Mooses Tooth, BLM did not create an alternative that fully considers minimal impact development. BLM needs to fully and thoughtfully address this in final EIS,” said Ben Greuel, Alaska Program Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.
At nearly 23 million acres, the Reserve is our country’s largest unit of public land and harbors a wide array of wildlife including two caribou herds, polar bears, wolves, wolverines and millions of migratory birds and waterfowl, among others. Roughly half the Reserve is awarded “Special Area” status and is largely off limits to oil and gas development. The remaining 11.8 million acres, roughly half of the Reserve, is available for leasing.