BLM offers yet another plan for drilling on Alaska’s sensitive North Slope

In 1923, U.S. President Warren G. Harding designated 23 million acres on Alaska’s North Slope as a national petroleum reserve. The ecologically sensitive northeast corner of the reserve — which includes pristine Lake Teshekpuk and is vital habitat for breeding caribou and migrating birds, and hunting grounds for Inupiat Eskimos — was closed to energy development by the Reagan, Bush Elder, and Clinton administrations. But damned if the current administration won’t pull out all the stops trying to access it! Dubyah and crew tried in 2005. Then they tried in 2006 — twice. Last fall, a judge blocked the administration, saying it had failed to consider environmental impacts of drilling in the area, and ordered the Bureau of Land Management to develop a new plan. Yesterday, the agency obliged, offering a vague proposal which suggests various options for development. The BLM will offer final recommendations after a two-month public-input period, which starts Friday. So get thee to inputting!