BLM’s NPR-A Plan Harms American Energy Security, Ignores Alaskan Voices

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, today slammed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for reverting the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) to the 2013 version of its Integrated Activity Plan (IAP). This shortsighted decision closes millions of acres to responsible energy development, deliberately upending a careful balance in the management of the reserve and more broadly across Alaska lands. 

The Biden administration’s move abandons the 2020 version of the IAP, which was developed in partnership with the North Slope Borough and in consultation with North Slope Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. It comes mere weeks after President Biden pledged to “work like the devil to bring gas prices down.” 

“This was the wrong decision when it was announced in January, and it is only worse today. We need more domestic resource development, and areas explicitly designated for that purpose should be at the top of the list, not on the chopping block. It is simply shocking that the Biden administration can look at the world, and decide that Alaska is where ‘keep it in the ground’ should apply,” Sen. Murkowski said. “This decision also flies in the face of many of the Alaska Natives who live on the North Slope, who participated in the 2020 plan update and who supported its finalization. The administration is choosing to ignore them, while giving outside environmental groups everything they want.”

“The Bureau of Land Management has 25 million acres of land nationwide available for oil development, 23 million of which are in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska,” said Sen. Sullivan. “I have long urged the President to cut the gimmicks and tap this true ‘strategic petroleum reserve,’ which is teeming with reserves ready to alleviate some of our nation’s dire energy needs. But yesterday, President Biden doubled down on his failed policies, removing half of this federally-established oil and gas reserve from consideration and—even more reckless—specifically removing areas with the greatest potential for actual production. This decision will prolong the pain for hard-working Americans and tighten Vladimir Putin’s grip over our allies. Needless to say, President Biden is not doing everything in his power to control prices at the pump or relieve average Americans’ pain. We now know, record inflation, unprecedented gas prices, and a despot wielding vast sums of the world’s petroleum supply will not deter Joe Biden in his relentless war on American energy production.” 

BLM manages the NPR-A under the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act and other federal laws. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the 23-million-acre region on the western North Slope—roughly the size of the state of Indiana—contains 8.7 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically-recoverable oil.

The Alaska delegation also condemned this decision when it was first announced in January.

# # #