Press release – Legislation Threatens World Class Habitat in Western Arctic

Nullifies Balanced Management Plan

Washington, DC (June 12, 2013) – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 1964, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Access Act, introduced by Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA). If signed into law, the legislation would nullify protections for the most critical wildlife habitat and native subsistence areas within the Reserve. The bill would abandon the Obama administration’s balanced plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Reserve) which was developed through an extensive two and a half year process that included more than 400,000 public comments.

“Instead of promoting a careless drill only strategy in the Reserve, Congress should honor the existing administrative plan that appropriately balances oil and gas leasing with the protection of the Reserve’s five Special Areas, critical for wildlife habitat and native subsistence,” said Ben Greuel, Alaska Program Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Greuel continued, “HR 1964 is not only off-base in its singular purpose to expedite drilling in this globally significant wildlife landscape but also un-needed as the Obama administration has put forward lease sales in the Reserve during five of the last six years.” said Ben Greuel, Alaska Program Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Located in Alaska’s western Arctic and over 23 million acres in size, the Reserve is our country’s largest single unit of public land and includes habitat for a globally significant wildlife landscape that includes two caribou herds, millions of migratory birds and waterfowl, threatened polar bears, walrus, wolves, wolverine, seals and beluga whales, among many others.

Earlier this year, the Obama Administration put forward a balanced management plan for the Reserve that protects wildlife habitat and the subsistence needs of the Alaska Native community, while still allowing for 72% of the recoverable oil to be leased.

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