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Parnell protests NPR-A plan, withdraws Alaska as cooperating agency

Alaska will immediately withdraw as a cooperating agency in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska’s (NPR-A) memorandum of understanding to protest plans US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar announced for the reserve in August, Gov. Sean Parnell (R) reported.

Despite the state’s good faith efforts, Interior did not treat it respectfully, he told Salazar in a Sept. 12 letter.

Requirements under the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Interior’s own regulations, statements, and policies required the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prepare an environmental impact statement with state and local governments’ cooperation, Parnell continued.

“Regulations implementing NEPA and specific BLM regulations further define requirements for the agency to work in a collaborative manner with the state to develop land management plans,” he said.

Parnell suggested that the only way to cure defects in the process is to start over with a more accurate assessment of NPR-A’s oil and gas resources involving Alaska’s state geologist and possibly others from outside BLM and the US Geologic Survey.

“Only after that geologic analysis is complete should the EIS and planning process start,” the governor said. “If you choose to restart the process, please take the time to provide a truly respectful cooperative process with the State of Alaska and others.”

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