Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has signed a management plan that allows access to oil and gas resources on nearly half of the 23 million-acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.
The petroleum reserve is an area about the size of Indiana on Alaska's North Slope.
The plan lays out a roughly 50-50 split of land between conservation and petroleum development.
Salazar says in an announcement that the plan also makes access provisions for a pipeline that could carry petroleum from drill sites in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to the trans-Alaska pipeline.
Salazar in August released details of the department's preferred alternative.
The management plan allows access to oil and gas resources on 11.8 million acres.
Areas blocked to development include Teshekpuk Lake, which is renowned for its migratory bird habitat.
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