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Interagency Working Group on Alaska Energy

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Department of the Interior




Overview of agency mission and activities

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) manages over half of the land in Alaska, or 214 million acres, and has responsibility for mineral resources on the 485 million acres of Alaska’s outer continental shelf (OCS).  DOI’s mission is to protect and manage the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage, provide scientific and other information about those resources, and honor its trust responsibilities to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities.  DOI implements this mission through the programs and activities of its bureaus.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages and conserves resources for multiple use on public lands, the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management (BOEM) manages access to renewable and conventional energy resources of the outer continental shelf (OCS), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) enforces safety and environmental regulations related to offshore energy development, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages wildlife refuges primarily for the benefit of fish and wildlife, the National Park Service (NPS) maintains natural, cultural, and recreational sites for the benefit and enjoyment of the public, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducts and disseminates scientific research to inform decision making.  

Relevant mandates

Mineral Leasing Act - Authorizes and governs leasing of public lands for developing deposits of coal, petroleum, natural gas and other hydrocarbons as well as other minerals. 

The Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act (NPRPA) - Instructs the BLM to conduct an "expeditious program of competitive leasing" in the 23-million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, while balancing the exploration and development of oil-and-gas resources with the protection of wildlife, habitat, and the subsistence values of rural residents and Alaska Natives.

Endangered Species Act (ESA) - Provides for protection and recovery of imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers provisions related to terrestrial and freshwater organisms.  

Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) - Establishes customary and traditional uses of wild, renewable resources by rural Alaska residents as a primary consideration in land-use decision making in Alaska.

Oil Pollution Act (OPA) - Establishes provisions that expand the federal government's capabilities and resources to respond to oil spills. Created the national Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and provided requirements for contingency planning both by government and industry.  

Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) - Establishes policy for the management and exploitation of oil and natural gas in the OCS, and for protecting the marine and coastal environment, in part, by creating an oil spill liability fund.