From June 1st. 2017
… meaning, in this case, to drill for more oil.
The order pertains to two places: the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A), the largest block of federally managed land in the United States, and the coastal region of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, the so-called “1002 area.” It calls for a “lawful review and development of a revised Integrated Activity Plan” aimed toward increased petroleum production from these lands, Zinke said in a statement. The move will re-assess the current management plan, and calls for an update to estimates about quantities of oil beneath the ground within three weeks.
Attempts to drill in ANWR have been repeatedly defeated in Congress, and face stiff opposition from Native Alaskan groups. The announcement was decried by environmental groups. Kristen Miller of the Alaska Wilderness League told the AP that Zinke’s order upsets a management plan that the Interior Department spent years creating with tribes, local governments, the state and others. “We and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who actively supported the current management plan will not sit idly by while this administration tries to give these public lands wholesale to the oil industry,” Miller said. “ANWR is a national treasure and an amazing piece of land,” echoed Nicole Whittington-Evans, the Wilderness Society’s Alaska regional director, speaking to Fox News. “It is not a place where oil and gas development should be allowed.”
However, not all are opposed. Before the announcement, made late May 31, Zinke met with North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower Jr., an Inupiat whaling captain, whose borough encompasses the NPR-A and ANWR. “I welcome Secretary Zinke’s new Secretarial Order,” he said. “In my meeting with Secretary Zinke earlier today, the Secretary committed that the Interior Department will engage in meaningful consultation with our communities, tribes… and Native corporations during the Department’s review of the NPR-A IAP. North Slope Borough residents recognize the importance of oil and gas to our local economy and the ability of our Borough and city governments to provide public services.”