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Hastings Law Journal

Authors

Joel Aurora

Abstract

This Note analyzes the Department of the Interior’s recent decision to close off several million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (“NPR-A” or “Reserve”) from oil and gas leasing while allowing petroleum development on discrete areas of the Reserve. After discussing the Reserve’s history, this Note examines the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act of 1980 and its relevance to the NPR-A, and analyzes the petroleum industry’s potential legal arguments against the Interior’s decision. This Note also argues that the Department of the Interior’s decision is in accordance with its administrative powers because the Secretary’s decision should not be considered a formal public land “withdrawal,” but rather, a discretionary decision to deny lease issuances within certain areas of the Reserve.

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