Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has affirmed a proposed management plan for a vast petroleum reserve on Alaska’s North Slope that will split 23 million acres roughly 50-50 between protected areas and land available for oil leasing.
Salazar on Wednesday announced that the final plan allows development on nearly 12 million acres within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, an area roughly the size of Indiana.
He says areas designated for development cover 72 percent of the estimated recoverable oil in the reserve.
Salazar says the plan also allows for potential construction of a pipeline that could carry oil drilled from offshore wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska’s northern coast.
The plan protects environmentally sensitive areas such as bird habitat around Teshekpuk Lake.