VOICE Supports Consultation and the Scoping Process for ANWR Leasing
The Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat communicates their position BLM's 60-day scoping period concerning Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program
By Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat
The community of Kaktovik lies on the northern coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the 1002 area.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
*NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS A RELEASED STATEMENT FROM VOICE OF THE ARCTIC IÑUPIAT:
POINT HOPE, AK—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a 60-day scoping period to assist in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The scoping effort includes a robust public comment period that will help inform the environmental review itself, which is the first step of the leasing process.
Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat (VOICE) and its North Slope members are committed to our continued involvement with the Kaktovikmiut and assisting them in working with BLM and the Department of Interior throughout the scoping and EIS processes to bring forward the concerns of our communities. It is important that the voices from Kaktovik be heard – the only community in the 1002 area of ANWR where leases will be offered.
Opening the coastal plain of ANWR has been a priority for North Slope Borough leaders for more than 40 years due to its potential to support infrastructure, medical facilities, and basic public services for our North Slope communities. In September, 2017, VOICE passed a resolution in support of opening the 1002 area to culturally and environmentally responsible oil and gas exploration and development, and played a significant role in advocating for passage of the legislation that made it possible.
VOICE continues to work to ensure that development decisions in the Arctic are informed by those who live here and that our people and communities directly benefit from activity in our region. “As a nonprofit entity representing the interests of organizations from across Alaska’s Arctic Slope region, we are pleased that the process is moving forward and that this administration plans to work with and listen to the voices of those who stand to be most impacted by oil and gas exploration in ANWR,” said Sayers Tuzroyluk, president of VOICE.
“Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat has long fought to ensure that the voices of our region are not hijacked by outside special interest groups, and so we’re encouraged that BLM has invited our Kaktovik members into consultation with the agency and will be holding the public hearings within our region.”
The public process is important, as it will assist BLM in identifying relevant issues that could influence the scope and guide the development of the EIS. Public scoping meetings are scheduled in: Kaktovik, Utqiaġvik, Arctic Village, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.
Dates and times will be announced on the BLM website blm.gov/Alaska