The Bureau of Land Management released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for potential oil and gas development for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

It is the next step to implement an oil and gas leasing program under the Tax Act, which mandates the Secretary of the Interior establish a development program of the Coastal Plain.

Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program EIS

In a press release sent by the BLM Thursday afternoon, Gov. Mike Dunleavy applauded the progress.

"Alaskans have anticipated the release of the draft environmental statement for decades," he stated. "My administration and Alaskans overwhelmingly support ANWR development, and we are eager to inform and educate our fellow Americans that it will be done utilizing the highest environmental standards and safeguards to protect its land, waters and wildlife."

It's not exactly known how much oil and gas resources are in the area of the Coastal Plain in section 1002, but previous governments have estimated up to 10 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, "For decades, Alaskans on both sides of the aisle have overwhelmingly supported opening the 1002 to energy exploration and development. I commend the President for giving Alaskans a voice again in how their public lands are used and for his commitment to responsible development of the Coastal Plain."

Both Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Sen. Lisa Murkowski have said Zinke, who is resigning at the end of the year, has been good to Alaska during his time in the post.

The draft was prepared by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management.

People can comment on the draft EIS from Dec. 28, 2018 to Feb. 11, 2019  on the BLM website or by mail. 

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