Statement from Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska Regional Director for The Wilderness Society on the State of Alaska withdrawing as a “cooperating agency” from the planning agreement for the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska:
“Alaska Governor Sean Parnell’s decision to withdraw as a ‘cooperating agency’ from the planning process for the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska appears to be a purely political move to undermine BLM’s scientifically sound planning process.
“The planning process formally began in 2010 and has had numerous, ongoing opportunities for state and public comments. The process - the first-ever plan for the entire reserve – resulted in a balanced “Preferred Alternative” announced by Interior Secretary Salazar on August 13 which allows 72% of the oil in the reserve to be recovered.
“At the same time, areas that are important ecologically and for subsistence such as the Teshekpuk Lake region and the Utukok River Uplands would be protected, as mandated in the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act of 1976.
“It appears from this action that the state is more interested in oil industry pipe dreams than in collaboration where all parties benefit.”