Alliance Encourages Community to Support ANWR Activity
The Alaska Alliance is asking interested parties in the community to join them at Dena’ina Center on February 11 to show support for the proposed oil and gas lease program that would allow limited activity within ANWR’s 1002 Area. The invitation—which includes a free coffee—comes ahead of the March 13 deadline for public comment to the Bureau of Land Management, after which BLM will prepare a final environmental impact statement and issue a record of decision.
Below is information provided by the Alliance to better inform attendees, as well as suggested talking points and a free coffee voucher.
In preparation for proposed oil and gas lease sales in the 1002 Area of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the Bureau of Land Management has published a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). Public comments on the DEIS are due March 13 after which BLM will prepare a final EIS and issue a record of decision on how to conduct the leasing program.
In addition to the customary “no action” alternative, the DEIS proposes three alternatives for leasing in the 1002 Area. The alternatives include measures designed to avoid or mitigate surface impacts and minimize ecological disturbance. At this stage BLM has not designated a preferred alternative.
Aerial View of ANWR’s 1002 Area.
The EIS will serve to fulfill requirements of the 2017 Tax Act to hold not fewer than two areawide lease sales on the coastal plain by December 2024. The first lease sale would be held after the Final EIS and Record of Decision is issued and will offer no fewer than 400,000 acres areawide of high-potential lands for bid.
The footprint of production and support facilities will be limited to no more than 2,000 surface acres at any given time, including private land holdings inside the coastal plain. Future on-the-ground actions, including potential exploration and development proposals, will require further National Environmental Policy Act analysis based on the site-specific proposal. As a result, decisions evaluated in this leasing EIS and its record of decision would not authorize any on-the-ground activity associated with the exploration or development of oil and gas resources on the coastal plain.
In 1980, Congress identified the 1002 Area for its potential oil and gas resources. A 1987 Department of the Interior report fulfilling requirements under Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) recommended the 1002 Area for oil and gas development. Since completion of that report, numerous oil fields have been discovered near the coastal plain and oil field technologies have significantly evolved.
Points to consider in your comments:
• Responsible oil and gas development in the small fraction of ANWR proposed for leasing will help ensure America’s energy security for decades.
• The DEIS includes a wide range of alternatives which contain measures to avoid or mitigate surface impacts and minimize ecological disturbance throughout the program area.
• Under the three development alternatives, the footprint of production and support facilities will be limited to no more than 2,000 surface acres of the 1.6 million-acre 1002 Area.
• Energy production from the non-Wilderness coastal plain has the potential to offset a decline in Lower 48 shale oil production, which is expected to commence in approximately a decade.
• The program area covered by the DEIS contains an estimated 7.68 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
• Alaska’s economic lifeline, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), is now running at three-quarters empty. New oil production from the coastal plain has the potential to reverse throughput in TAPS, a vital component of American energy infrastructure.
• Oil development on a fraction of the coastal plain would create thousands of jobs nationwide, generate billions of dollars in government revenue for public services.
• Since the non-Wilderness coastal plain is less than 60 miles from TAPS, development of energy resources there is one of the most environmentally-sound ways to increase oil production in Alaska.
• Thanks to continuing improvements in technology, practices, and oversight, the oil industry has demonstrated over the past 40 years that North Slope energy development and environmental stewardship can and do coexist. The industry has a proven track record of responsible development in sensitive areas, protecting the environment, wildlife and subsistence needs of local residents.
• Advances in technology have greatly reduced the footprint of development in the Arctic. As much as 60-plus square miles can now be developed from a single 12 to 14 acre gravel drill site.
• Polls have consistently shown Alaskans overwhelmingly support responsible oil and gas development in the non-Wilderness portion of ANWR.
• While renewable energy is a growing part of America’s energy portfolio, it is still projected to account for a minority of American energy production in 2040. New oil and gas production will be required to power America’s economy and can serve as a bridge until renewable energy becomes a dominant energy source decades into the future.
• The coastal plain was specifically identified by Congress, pursuant to Section 1002 of ANILCA, for its potential for oil and natural gas resources. Oil and gas from the Non-Wilderness portion of the coastal plain is an important resource for meeting our nation’s energy demands and achieving energy dominance.
Save the voucher image below and print to redeem your free cup of coffee:
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The Alaska Marine Lifeline
The current conversation Alaskans are having was spurred by Governor Mike Dunleavy’s initial budget proposal for 2020, which would cut funding to the AMHS by 75 percent and essentially end most operations by October.