Proposed Willow Development Plan Draft Analysis Available for Public Comment
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — To support increased production of Alaskan energy resources and achieving energy dominance, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public input on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Willow Master Development Plan (MDP) in the Bear Tooth Unit (BTU) in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A).
The proposed MDP includes the construction, operation, and maintenance of a central processing facility, infrastructure pad, up to five drill sites, access and infield roads, pipelines, a gravel mine, and a module transport island on BLM-managed lands within the NPR-A and within waters managed by the State of Alaska.
According to the project proponent ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc., the proposed Willow MDP would have a peak production of up to 130,000 barrels of oil per day over its 30-year life (producing approximately 590 million barrels of oil) and would help offset declines in production from the North Slope oil fields and contribute to the local, state, and national economies. During the operational phase, it’s estimated that an annual average of 400-600 jobs would be created.
“This Master Development Plan proposal allows us to look at the development of a lease unit as a whole which will enhance efficiencies and provide for robust environmental review,” said BLM Alaska State Director Chad Padgett “Because of the complexity of this project, we are seeking input from communities in the North Slope as well as Anchorage and Fairbanks. This comment period will allow us to gather all of the relevant issues to guide the responsible development of Alaska’s natural resources.”
There were six public meetings held to solicit comments on the development of the Draft EIS and more than 1,400 comments were received during the entire 44-day public scoping period. BLM is consulting with 13 tribal entities and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act corporations on this project.
Public meetings are planned in Anaktuvuk Pass, Anchorage, Atqasuk, Fairbanks, Nuiqsut, Utqiagvik, Alaska, to afford the public an opportunity to provide input on the process, including North Slope communities potentially impacted by proposed development. The Nuiqsut meeting will include a subsistence-related hearing for comments regarding the proposed project’s potential impact to subsistence resources and activities.
The dates, times and locations of the meetings will be announced in advance through public releases, the BLM Alaska website at http://www.blm.gov/alaska/WillowEIS, and social media. The BLM may hold additional public meetings in other communities if there is strong community interest. Those unable to attend one of the meetings are encouraged to participate via BLM’s project website at http://www.blm.gov/alaska/WillowEIS, which includes a project area map and frequently asked questions.
Comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted through Oct. 15 2019, and should be specific to the document itself, referencing sections or pages. Comments can be submitted by any of the following methods:
· Online: http://www.blm.gov/alaska/WillowEIS
· Email: BLM_AK_Willow_Comments@blm.gov
· Mail: Attn: Willow MDP EIS, 222 West 7th Avenue, Stop #13, Anchorage, AK, 99513-7504
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.