What changed in 2017

In 2017, leasing of the Coastal Plain of the Refuge for oil and gas development become law through a provision included within the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Specifically the provision mandates two lease sales, of at least 400,000 acres each, in the Refuge’s Coastal Plain for oil and gas development, production and transportation ‘by not later than 10 years after the date of enactment’.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has begun the process of implementing an oil and gas leasing program of the Coastal Plain.

Pre Lease Sale

Before the lease sale could occur, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) had to be completed.

In 2018, BLM officially started the EIS process for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program and have followed an aggressive timeline in order to complete the process. In September 2019, the Final EIS was published and identified the most destructive drilling alternative possible, which offers the entire Coastal Plain of the Refuge for oil and gas leasing (Alternative B), as the preferred alternative.

Release of the Record of Decision is the final step of this process and is expected any day now.

The Parties of the Porcupine Caribou Management Agreement and the Porcupine Caribou Management Board has and will continue to participate in the EIS process by submitting comments during the various public comment phases. You can see all of their comments here.

Following the Record of Decision, the BLM is expected to proceed with undertaking the lease sale process.

See Happening Now for the latest information.