Scientific, Public Input Should Inform Final Decisions on Future of Vast Wilderness
Ken Rait, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Western Lands Initiative, issued the following statement in support of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) efforts to ensure thoughtful management of the National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska (NPRA). The agency’s draft environmental impact statement analyzes a wide variety of potential uses of resources in the Reserve, including subsistence use; recreation; activities that affect waterfowl, fish, and wildlife and their habitat; and access to oil and gas.
“This environmental review is a positive step that will help protect wild parts of the NPRA and guide management decisions throughout the area.
“We commend the BLM for taking on this complex issue to provide sensible direction for overseeing these lands for decades to come. We plan to join scientists, Alaskans, and other experts to review the draft and provide input to the BLM. Our hope is that the agency’s final plan will balance protection of the globally important conservation values and subsistence resources in the NPRA with responsible energy development.”
Located on the largest contiguous block of unspoiled public lands in the nation, the NPRA harbors habitat for vast caribou herds, vital nesting grounds for various migrating bird species, and important subsistence resources for Alaska natives.