Salazar propose…

Salazar proposes plan for petroleum reserve


Interior Secretary Ken Salazar unveiled a proposed management plan Monday for a vast petroleum reserve on Alaska’s North Slope. The state’s senior senator immediately pronounced it too restrictive.At a press conference in Anchorage, Salazar said the proposal balances wildlife protection, villagers’ subsistence requirements and the nation’s need for additional petroleum.

About 11.8 million out of 23 million acres would be available for leasing, including most land believed to contain oil reserves, Salazar said.
The proposal provides a potential route for a pipeline that could transport oil from offshore leases in the Chukchi Sea east to the trans-Alaska pipeline, which bisects the state north to south.
The potential for development was balanced with protections for the region’s wildlife, Salazar said.
“It is an iconic place on our Earth,” Salazar said.
Republican Lisa Murkowski said the Democratic Obama administration picked the most restrictive management plan possible for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, an area created by President Warren Harding in 1923 that is roughly the size of Indiana.
The environmentally sensitive Teshekpuk Lake area, renowned for its habitat for migratory birds, including black brant, Canada geese and greater white-fronted geese, already was under a 10-year deferral for additional study, she said.
The reserve also includes the 325,000 animals in the Western Arctic Caribou Herd and the 55,000 animals in the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd, sources of subsistence food for 40 northern and western Alaska Native villages.
The Utukok River Uplands special area would protect calving grounds and an area where caribou seek relief from insects.

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