Intent to prepare a master development plan/ environmental impact statement for the Willow oil and gas prospect within the Bear Tooth United of the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska was announced in the Federal Register on Aug. 7.
The federal Bureau of Land Management said its notice initiates the public scoping process for the Willow oil and gas prospect and that comments on issues, impacts and potential alternatives to be analyzed would be accepted through Sept. 6
The BLM plans to hold public scoping meetings in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nuiqsut and Utqiagvik, but has not yet announced the dates.
The development plan and study are being prepared for ConocoPhillips to build up to five new drill pads, 250 wells, roads and pipelines in the reserve at its Willow site.
The announcement drew criticism from Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, who contends that the massive oil project threatens one of the wildest, most beautiful places in America.
“It will scar the land, harm wildlife and worsen climate change,” Monsell said.
The 23 million-acre NPR-A is the single-largest parcel of public land in the United States. The Willow project would be located within the Bear Tooth Unit of the reserve, approximately 30 air miles west of the Native village of Nuiqsut.
In addition to the wells, roads and pipelines, the oil company would build and operate a processing facility, an infrastructure pad, an airstrip, a gravel mime and a temporary island to support module delivery via sealift barges.
The master development plan/environmental impact statement is being prepared in accordance with the Trump administration’s recent executive order to minimize the National Environmental policy Act review and other regulatory requirements.
Comments on the scope of the proposed Willow MDP/EIS may be emailed to BLM_AK_Willow_Comments@blm.gov or mailed to Willow MDP/EIS Scoping Comments, Bureau of Land Management, 222 West 7th Avenue, Stop #13, Anchorage, AK 99513.