In 1923, 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, migrating birds, and 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! The Bushies tried in 2005. They tried in 2006twice. Last fall, a judge blocked the administration from its quest, 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!

sources: Reuters, Associated Press, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

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comment on the plan: Bureau of Land Management website

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