Critical Alaska Habitat Spared From Oil and Natural Gas Development
The Obama administration’s first lease sale in the 87-year-old petroleum reserve on the North Slope leaves sanctuary for caribou and geese.
Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has become synonymous with the conflict between energy development and conservation. But just 100 miles (161 kilometers) to the west, a similar battle has long been under way in the National Petroleum Reserve. Now the caribou and geese can claim a victory there.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is set to conduct a lease sale on August 11 of about 1.8 million acres (728,434 hectares) of oil and natural gas parcels in the northeast section of the reserve—but the plan protects from development 170,000 acres (68,797 hectares) of critical habitat in buffer zones south of the biologically rich Teshekpuk Lake.
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