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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues permit for CD-5

ANCHORAGE – Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District issued a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. for the CD-5 Alpine Satellite Development Project.

This decision culminates nearly a year-long review process that included an in-depth analysis of engineering alternatives along with an examination of supplemental technical information provided by state and federal agencies.  In a detailed 134-page record of decision, the Corps is requiring ConocoPhillips to use the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative as required by law.

“Today’s decision is entirely consistent with the mission of the Corps of Engineers’ Regulatory Program, which is to protect the Nation's aquatic resources while allowing reasonable development,” said Kevin Morgan, Regulatory Chief for the Alaska District.  “It’s indicative of a program that is fair, flexible and balanced."

The CD-5 permit authorizes construction of a drill pad, six-mile long access road, four bridge crossings, two valve pads with access roads, and new pipeline support structures.  It also includes 22 special conditions intended to minimize the impact to the environment within the Arctic Coastal Plain.  In addition, ConocoPhillips agreed to pay mitigation fees to the Conservation Fund to compensate for unavoidable losses to aquatic resources.

During the review process, the Corps evaluated four practicable alternative proposals that included both above and below ground pipelines.  Additional information provided by ConocoPhillips, combined with opinions from agencies responsible for pipeline oversight in Alaska, documented that an above ground pipeline, in this particular situation, presented a lesser risk of damage to the aquatic ecosystem.

“The clarifying information we reviewed and conditions agreed to by ConocoPhillips cleared the way for us to issue this permit,” said Col. Reinhard Koenig, Commander of the Alaska District.  It’s testament to the Corps’ permit evaluation process and our ability to make balanced and independent decisions.”

“The ConocoPhillips proposal will provide year-round quick and effective pipeline monitoring, leak detection, and spill response,” Koenig said.

The Record of Decision is available on the Alaska District’s website at:  http://www.poa.usace.army.mil.

SOURCE: USACOE Dec. 19, 2011

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