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Comments Sought on Proposed Tetlin Refuge Land Exchange

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comments on
a proposed land exchange between the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge
(Tetlin Refuge) and The Conservation Fund (TCF). The proposed land exchange
would remove one potential barrier to construction of the Alaska Pipeline
Project (APP), while providing the National Wildlife Refuge System with a
total net gain of lands containing important wildlife habitat and valued at
$1.11M.

During the summer of 2011, APP approached the Service about the possibility
of a land exchange, one of many steps that would be necessary before
building APP’s proposed natural gas pipeline from the North Slope of Alaska
to Canada.  To comply with long-standing contractual agreements in Canada,
any pipeline corridor crossing the border from Alaska would first cross
about 2 miles of Tetlin Refuge.


The proposed land exchange would transfer approximately 400 acres of land
to TCF from Tetlin Refuge. In exchange, TCF would set up a fund to purchase
lands in Tetlin Refuge or other National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska, which
would then be donated to the Service and become part of the surrounding
refuge. In addition, TCF would transfer, through donation and exchange,
about 515 acres to the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.


The land exchange was proposed and negotiated as a means of resolving a
permitting conflict involving the APP pipeline corridor. Removing the
proposed pipeline corridor land from Tetlin Refuge through a land exchange
could expedite the process by enabling APP to obtain a pipeline easement
through Tetlin Refuge within regulatory deadlines.

Additional details concerning the proposed land exchange can be found
online at: http:\\tetlin.fws.gov

The Service is beginning to prepare an Environmental Assessment to assess
potential impacts of the proposed land exchange. You can participate in
this process by joining staff from Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge and The
Conservation Fund to discuss the proposed land exchange. Public scoping
meetings are scheduled for the following times and locations:

      Northway, Alaska:  February 21, 2012, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at the
      Northway Community Hall
      Tok, Alaska:  February 22, 2012, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at Fast Eddy’s

In order to make sure your concerns are addressed in the Environmental
Assessment, the Service must receive your comments before March 5, 2012. We
expect to release the Environmental Assessment in March of 2012. If you
cannot or chose not to attend one of the scoping meetings, written comments
may be submitted via email to: fw7_tetlin_planning@fws.gov or by U.S. mail
to: Ryan Mollnow, Refuge Manager, Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box
779, Tok, AK 99780

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to
conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats
for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and
trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated
professionals, and commitment to public service. 

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, 
visit www.fws.gov. 

Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, 

follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, 

watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws 

and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq


                                   -FWS-

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