The federal government is issuing its annual request for public input on what land should be available for oil leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
Led by ConocoPhillips, there are a growing number of oil projects in the federally managed chunk of the western North Slope. Roughly 1.6 million acres of the 22-million acre reserve are leased, according to the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the area.
The U.S. Interior Department is re-evaluating the management plan for the reserve, aiming to open up land that’s currently off-limits to oil leasing.
Some of that land is thought to have high oil potential. But environmental groups are worried because the land overlaps with valuable habitat for migratory birds and other species — namely, the area around Teshekpuk Lake.
This year’s oil lease sale for the reserve will be limited to the acreage that is currently available. The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments until July 22.
But another federally managed area slated for oil leasing this year is likely to get a lot more attention.
The Trump administration aims to hold the first oil lease sale for land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the end of 2019.
- Under Alaska state law, at least 30 days’ notice is needed to hold a non-emergency special session during the interim. That would push any special session now up against the holidays.
- The Tazlina was scheduled to have new side doors installed this winter. Instead, the state ferry will provide service between Juneau and the communities of Haines, Skagway, Hoonah and Gustavus.
- Bruce Tangeman, who ran the state's Department of Revenue, also wrote that any potential new taxes would support what he called an unsustainable budget, as well as permanent fund dividends.
- The NTSB update is a detailed, seven-page statement of facts about the flight and the investigation, with sections on the runway, the flight recorders, the plane and its engines. It does not assign a cause to the crash. That's expected later.