National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A)
Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (IAP/EIS)
When was the NPR-A established and why?
President Warren G. Harding established the Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 4 (PET-4) by Executive Order 3797 in 1923 to reserve the lands for oil and gas development for Naval defense purposes. The Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976 (PL 94-258) transferred jurisdiction of PET-4 from the Navy to the Secretary of the Interior and renamed it the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska, commonly abbreviated as NPR-A. The new law, passed in the wake of the OPEC oil embargo and less than a decade after the discovery of oil at Prudhoe Bay, directed the Secretary of the Interior to regulate the reserve "in a manner consistent with the total energy needs of the Nation."
Why did the BLM write another plan for NPR-A?
Since the late 1990s, the BLM has completed plans for the northeastern and northwestern parts of NPR-A. (Go the "Links" page on the left to view past plans.) The new plan will for the first time provide a consistent, comprehensive plan for all of NPR-A. Currently, over 9 million acres of NPR-A have no land use plan. These unplanned lands in the southern part of the Reserve include the calving ground of the largest caribou herd in Alaska, potential Wild and Scenic Rivers, and natural gas, a resource of increasing interest if one of the currently proposed gas pipelines is built. The new plan can consider onshore facilities related to the potentially huge oil and gas resources on federal leases in the Chukchi Sea that lie directly to the west of NPR-A; a pipeline to bring oil and/or gas from the Chukchi Sea leases would necessarily cross the NPR-A to connect with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and proposed gas pipelines. This plan would also benefit land management by eliminating any confusion in management requirements resulting from inconsistent wording of decisions in previous NPR-A plans and by updating the analysis and protective measures to reflect recent studies, including new research on climate change and polar bears.
Prior to beginning the plan, BLM developed preliminary criteria for developing the proposed actions and alternatives. What are they?
The NOI referred to the following preliminary planning criteria: