Massive oil and gas lease sale in NPR-A is unprecedented

Dec 6, 2017

Caribou are among the iconic species—including wolves and polar bears—that could be negatively impacted by oil and gas development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.


Today the federal Bureau of Land Management is scheduled to open sealed bids for the largest oil and gas lease sale in the history of the Western Arctic, offering 10.3 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska for development by industry. In response, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from Alaska regional director Nicole Whittington-Evans:

“The size of this sale is unprecedented. BLM invited bids on literally every acre of the 10.3 million acres that are open to development in the NPR-A. Currently, 1.3 million acres are already leased within the reserve, and the cumulative environmental impacts are not yet known. It’s irresponsible to continue to offer leases before the environmental and human health effects of oil development in the region are fully understood.

“This massive sale is another egregious step in the Trump administration’s rush to sell off public lands across America, including the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The government is taking a wholesale approach in the NPR-A to turning over our shared lands to oil companies, while simultaneously preparing to dismantle the Integrated Activity Plan’s conservation protections for globally significant wildlife and important subsistence resources.”