Draft EIS for NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan
Comment Deadline extended to: February 5, 2020

Overview                                                                                                                                           RDC Comments

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the new Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

The purpose of the IAP/EIS is to develop a new management strategy for NPR-A consistent with Secretarial Order 3352, which was signed in June 2017. The order calls for the review and development of a revised IAP “that strikes an appropriate balance of promoting development while protecting surface resources.”

The request for comments over the entire NPR-A is the second step in revising the previous management plan, which closed approximately half of the 22-million acre energy reserve to leasing, including 3.1 million acres of highly-prospective lands contiguous to recently announced discoveries.

The new IAP/EIS includes a range of alternatives that make lands available for leasing, an examination of special area boundaries, and gives consideration to new or revised lease stipulations and best management practices. The IAP/DEIS would also ensure that BLM’s land management plan will provide an opportunity, subject to conditions developed through a National Environmental Policy Act process, to construct pipelines and other necessary infrastructure to bring oil and gas resources from offshore or adjacent leases to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Systems (TAPS).

BLM said the final IAP/EIS is scheduled to be released in 2020.

Action Requested

RDC members are encouraged to write comments encouraging the BLM to reopen NPR-A’s subsurface historically opened to oil and gas leasing, with reasonable and economically feasible stipulations that do not discourage the development and transport of energy resources.


Mail: BLM, Alaska State Office, Attention: NPR-A IAP/EIS, 222 W. 7th Avenue, #13, Anchorage, AK 99513

Points to Consider:

  • While Alternative D increases land available for leasing and new infrastructure to 18.3 million acres, including all of the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, surface occupancy would be significantly limited. However, these measures and other stipulations, including timing restrictions, must be practical, and technically and economically feasible.

  • The 2013 Integrated Activity Plan unnecessarily prohibits leasing and development of potentially oil-rich lands in much of Northeast NPR-A south of Teshekpuk Lake. The 3.1 million acres that were taken off the table in Northeast NPR-A was an overreach. Oil and gas leasing and exploration drilling has occurred on these lands in the past and should be allowed in the new plan without unreasonable stipulations which would severely restrict and discourage future development.

  • It is important to remember NPR-A is a petroleum reserve and surface resources and subsistence can be protected without unduly restricting highly prospective areas to leasing.

  • Experience supports the fact that development of oil and gas resources can coexist with traditional subsistence activities, cultural resources, wildlife, and the environment. 

  • Advances in technology have greatly reduced the footprint of development in the Arctic. As much as 60-plus square miles can now be developed from a single 12 to 14 acre gravel drill site. New drilling capabilities are being developed that may increase the subsurface development possible from the same size drill site to as much as 150-plus square miles. The net effect is an ever-decreasing impact on surface resources without severe restrictions which discourage development.

  • The discovery and development of new oil and gas deposits will benefit local communities, Alaska, and the nation. State and local revenues derived from production will help sustain important state services to residents and diminish dependence on foreign oil.

  • New industry activity could provide thousands of job opportunities, boost the local, state and national economies, and add new oil to TAPS, which is currently running at one-quarter of its original capacity.

  • The IAP should allow for a year-round road system to connect local communities within NPR-A.

  • Opening highly-prospective areas of NPR-A to future oil and gas lease sales would advance BLM’s “all-of-the-above” approach to energy development and help maintain American energy dominance.

Comment deadline is February 5, 2020