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Environmental Lawsuits Threaten Arctic Communities

Uncertainty in the Arctic Looms as eNGO’s Block Projects Important to Communities

Barrow, Alaska, February 10, 2014Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation  (UIC) is frustrated by the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which invalidated sections of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 2008 Outer Continental Lease Sale for the Chukchi Sea.

UIC is the Alaska Native Village Corporation for Barrow, Alaska, and our community serves as a strategic platform for offshore lease activities in the Chukchi Sea.  UIC and our subsidiaries provide tangible benefits to our over 2,500 Iñupiat shareholders and other Alaskans through employment opportunities like the Shell exploration and production program.

UIC President and CEO, Anthony E. Edwardsen, explained, “We have a vested interest in helping to grow the industrial sector in the Alaskan Arctic and any delays or uncertainty will have a negative impact on our shareholders, our community, and the entire state of Alaska.  Responsible oil and gas development in the Chukchi Sea provides long-term employment opportunities for our people. It is critical for the Department of Interior to define a clear path forward so that we can move ahead with certainty and our people can continue to have confidence in the availability of meaningful employment opportunities.”

President Edwardsen further stated, “Finding balance between the goals of economic opportunity and preserving our Iñupiaq way of life requires compromise, diligence, creative thinking, and open communications. The Environmental Non-government Organizations (eNGO’s) do not consider the impact that their controversial actions, and the barriers they create, have on our communities and way of life. The delays and uncertainty they create threaten the survivability of our communities including our businesses, jobs, contracting opportunities, and instability in this process hinders future growth.”

UIC supports the EIS process as long as it is one that is fair to the public, the arctic environment, and the developer.  It is important to our company, and our shareholders, that the Department of Interior work quickly to respond to the Ninth Circuit Court's decision.  With the continuous barrage of lawsuits brought on by the eNGO’s, and the court actions which create significant delays in projects, it is our Iñupiaq communities and our way of life that are at risk.

About UIC

UIC is the Alaska Native Village Corporation of Barrow, Alaska and provides social and economic resources to over 2,500 Iñupiat shareholders and their descendants. Since its establishment, UIC has diversified its investments and consistently ranks among the top largest Alaskan-owned companies (Alaska Business Monthly). UIC has over 3,000 employees and provides services to clients in a variety of industries, including operations in Barrow, construction, architecture and engineering, regulatory consulting, information technology, marine operations, logistics, and maintenance and manufacturing. More information about UIC and its family of companies can be found at www.uicalaska.com.    

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