Press Release

Trump administration to dismantle protections for Western Arctic

Alaska's Western Arctic

Alaska's Western Arctic

BLM via Flickr

Globally unique Teshekpuk Lake Special Area endangered

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (November 20, 2018) – Today the Bureau of Land Management announced its plans to re-write the 2013 National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska’s Integrated Activity Plan.  At the time of the original plan’s completion, it was widely hailed for its balanced and scientific approach to protecting globally-significant ecosystems and important habitat for subsistence resources while also allowing development.  Nearly 1.4 million acres of the NPR-A are currently leased, and oil recently began flowing from the first commercial development on federal lands. The Teshekpuk Lake Special Area contains a unique resident caribou herd and is the breeding grounds for millions of migratory shorebirds each summer.

This announcement comes at the same time the Administration and industry have failed to incorporate the NPR-A’s Regional Mitigation Strategy, which had been an effort to reduce conflict and provide certainty for conservation and development interests.

In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska Regional Director:

“Gutting the NPR-A’s land management plan, as we anticipate this administration will do, is outrageous and a complete waste of taxpayer money and agency resources.  Nearly 27 million acres of Arctic Alaska are already available to the oil and gas industry, and just last week, the State of Alaska leased over 220,000 acres in the region, demonstrating that there’s plenty of land available for oil development.” 

“This is just another example of this Administration’s shortsightedness and desire to sell off America’s public lands to oil companies.  We are committed to ensuring that the Reserve’s five Special Areas, including the Teshekpuk Lake and Colville River Special Areas, remain free of development.”

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The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.