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Interior Minister Ken Salazar – plans to put half of Alaska petroleum reserve off-limits to drilling

14 August 2012. The U.S.A. Bureau of Land Management selects National Petroleum Reserve Alternative B-2; leaves 212 million barrels of oil and 8.6 trillion cubic feet of gas effectively stranded.  Click on the map below to enlarge it.

Many subsistence hunters and environmentalists lobbied to protect habitat for two of the nation’s largest caribou herds, as well as endangered spectacled eider ducks and other Arctic specie.

The plan released was the most protective of four alternatives the Interior Department had put out for public comment.


We have wonderful news to report in our long-running campaign to protect the Western Arctic Reserve — one of our continent’s largest expanses of untouched wilderness.

Earlier this year, we generated more than 45,000 messages, urging the Obama Administration to adopt a plan that would protect key wildlife habitat in the Reserve from oil and gas development.

The Bureau of Land Management listened … and is now moving ahead with that preferred plan!

Please send Interior Secretary Ken Salazar a message of thanks   for protecting some 11 million acres of critical wildlife habitat within the Reserve.

Secretary Salazar will be under enormous pressure from the oil lobby and others who would weaken these wildlife protections. He needs to hear pro-wildlife voices like yours.

Since the Western Arctic Reserve was set aside as a “National Petroleum Reserve” almost a century ago, it has been constantly vulnerable to efforts by Big Oil to turn it into an oil and gas wasteland.

Thanks to the Bureau’s new plan, many of its most sensitive wildlands will now be safeguarded.

That includes the prized Teshekpuk Lake region, which provides critical calving grounds for a large caribou herd, as well as summer habitat for polar bears … and the Kasegaluk Lagoon, where thousands of beluga whales gather every year to feed and bear their young. A staggering variety of birds also take refuge in these wetlands, some migrating from as far south as Antarctica.

This is a huge win not only for Arctic wildlife, but for all Americans who care about protecting our natural heritage for future generations … and it would not have been possible without your online activism and support.

Send Interior Secretary Salazar a message of thanks for granting the Western Arctic Reserve the strong protection it needs — and ask him to fend off any and all attempts to weaken it.

Thank you for standing with NRDC to keep the Arctic wild and free.

Frances Beinecke
Natural Resources Defense Council

More information can be found at the links below.



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3 thoughts on “Interior Minister Ken Salazar – plans to put half of Alaska petroleum reserve off-limits to drilling

  1. wow wow WOW! THAT’S GREAT, and hopefully will set an example for others!


    Thank you for the recent announcement of the Preferred Alternative B-2 for the National Petroleum Reserve’s Integrated Activity Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. I live in Western Australia, and it is very exciting and positive to hear of your move to protect this area. Please be assured that you have the support of many thousands here Down Under, and we ask you not to “cave” into the oil / mining lobby groups, but to stick to your plan, and show you are an honourable person with gumption.

    The Reserve is blessed with 23 million acres of iconic Arctic landscapes, harboring our nation’s largest caribou herd, the largest populations of nesting arctic falcon, and threatened polar bears. Allowing development in the most sensitive wildlife areas would irreparably damage this wildlife reserve and impact the livelihoods of Native Alaskans who rely on it for their very subsistence.

    Alternative B-2 would protect key areas in America’s Arctic, including: Teshekpuk Lake/Dease Inlet (Teshekpuk Lake caribou herd calving grounds and a globally-significant Important Bird Area for shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds); Peard Bay (a coastal concentration area for marine mammals and nesting waterbirds); Utukok River Uplands/DeLong Mountains (Western Arctic caribou herd calving grounds and habitat for grizzly bears, wolves, and wolverines); the Colville River (with exceptional densities of cliff-nesting raptors); and Kasegaluk Lagoon (a unique Important Bird Area on the coast vital to polar bears, walrus, and beluga whales).

    I know you are under pressure from commercial interests to weaken Alternative B-2. I urge you to stand strong by adopting Alternative B-2 as is and safeguarding the Reserve’s extraordinary wildlife and wilderness values.

    It is now or never, that we must collectively as human-kind, look toward caring for our natural animal and plant resources, rather than kill them for short-term profits. Thank you very much.

  3. Yes, yes, yes! I am really “over the moon” about this one, Z. I feel like whooping and singing & dancing! I am glad you feel the same way, and I will do what I can to see this plan through – and to use it as a good example. Thanks for your interest, my friend.

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