Press Release – Proposed Legislation Nullifies Balanced Approach in Western Arctic

Wipes out transparent two and half year public process

Washington, DC (May 22, 2013) – Today, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on H.R. 1964, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Access Act, introduced by Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA). The bill would nullify the Obama administration’s balanced plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Reserve). The current plan finalized in February of this year opened up roughly 11.8 million acres of the Reserve and 72% of the recoverable oil to leasing. The plan would also protect the most critical wildlife within the Reserve as five Special Areas.

“This legislation would undue a balanced management plan that adequately protects the habitat for two caribou herds, millions of migratory birds and waterfowl, threatened polar bears, walrus, wolves, wolverine, seals and beluga whales, among others,” said Ben Greuel, Alaska Program Director for the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Greuel continued, “This legislation will not only wipe out valuable conservation measures, but also dismantle a public and transparent process that included two and a half years of outreach to the oil and gas industry, sportsmen, Alaska Natives and conservation groups and replace a balanced outcome with more of the same ‘drill baby drill’ rhetoric.”

Located in Alaska’s western Arctic, the Reserve is our country’s largest single unit of public land. 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 11.8 million acres and 72% of the recoverable oil to be leased for oil and gas drilling.

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