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U.S. Sen. Mark Begich Tuesday welcomed an announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to hold a second oil and gas lease sale for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA). At the same time, Begich continues to push the Obama administration to revise its proposed management plan for the NPRA to ensure development of new oil and gas projects and a pipeline to carry oil from Alaskaâ€™s Arctic offshore to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
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“I’m pleased this administration recognizes the NPRA is ‘essential’ in meeting the nation’s energy needs. I hope that view means they are also listening to our calls for improvements to the NPRA plan. I will keep up the full court press with officials at every level to get the balance right for Alaskans,” he said.
Salazar announced today a lease sale scheduled for Nov. 7 in Anchorage to make available some 400 tracts covering 4.5 million acres in the NRPA for oil and gas leasing. This follows a December 2011 sale involving 283 tracts and about 3 million acres. In August, Salazar announced a long-term management plan for NPRA that Senator Begich and the rest of the Alaska delegation objected to because of its restrictions on acreage available for development and options for a pipeline corridor.
The delegation voiced their opposition in a letter to Salazar, the full text of which is available here.