ePlanning DOI-BLM-AK-0000-2018-0002-EIS (Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing EIS)  
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Last Updated:
03/15/2019 13:29:27 MDT
Q: What is a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement?

A: A Notice of Intent (NOI) initiates the public process to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). It provides notification to the public that BLM is soliciting scoping comments on the proposed action, in this case to establish an oil and gas leasing program for the Coastal Plain. The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the EIS, including alternatives to the proposed action within the parameters outlined in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Q: Why is the action being proposed?

A: The proposed action is in accordance with the requirement in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Tax Act) to implement a leasing program within the Coastal Plain. The Leasing EIS will serve to inform BLM’s implementation of the Tax Act, including the requirement to hold not fewer than two lease sales area-wide within seven years. It may also inform post-lease activities, including seismic and drilling exploration, development, and transportation of oil and gas in and from the Coastal Plain, which would require additional analysis under the NEPA before being authorized. Specifically, the Leasing EIS will consider and analyze the potential environmental impacts of various leasing alternatives, including the areas to offer for sale, and the terms and conditions (i.e., lease stipulations and best management practices) to be applied to leases and associated oil and gas activities to properly balance oil and gas development with existing uses and conservation of surface resources, and to limit the footprint of production and support facilities on Federal lands to no more than 2,000 surface acres as required by the Tax Act.

Q: What are the public lands affected by the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program Environmental Impact Statement?

A: Affected by the EIS are approximately 1.6 million acres of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as defined by the Tax Act (roughly 8 percent of total ANWR acreage). The area was previously known as the 1002 Area, which refers to that section of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) which previously addressed the Coastal Plain.

Q: What is the process for the Coastal Plain Leasing EIS?

• Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare the EIS to be published in the Federal Register: April 20, 2018
• Conduct Public Scoping Meetings and Alaska Native Consultation: (time period specified in NOI April 20-June 19, 2018)
• Prepare the Draft EIS
• Publish Notice of Availability (NOA) for the Draft EIS. The NOA was published on December 28, 2018, and public meetings were      held in Fairbanks, Arctic Village, Fort Yukon, Kaktovik, Utqiagvik, Venetie, Anchorage, and Washington, D.C. February 4th to 13th. 

• Publish Call for Nominations and Comment in the Federal Register to solicit interest in lease sale areas 
• Assess comments received on the Draft EIS and the expressions of interest and prepare Final EIS
• Publish a NOA for the Final EIS in the Federal Register
• Issue a record of decision (ROD) and Lease Sale Notice
• Hold Lease Sale

Q: What kind of outreach are you conducting?

A: The Notice of Intent began a 60 day comment period from April 20 to June 19, 2018. During this time, we held public meetings in Fairbanks, Arctic Village, Kaktovik, Utqiagvik, Venetie, Anchorage, and Washington, D.C. The Scoping Report is available to view through the Documents tab.

Government-to-government consultations with Tribal governements as well as Alaska Native Corporation consultation is on-going throughout the entire process.

Public Meetings for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, were held in Fairbanks, Arctic Village, Fort Yukon, Kaktovik, Utqiagvik, Venetie, Anchorage, and Washington, D.C., February 4th to 13th, 2019.  The comment period was extended to March 13, 2019.  

Q: What is a substantive comment?

A: To be most helpful, comments should be as specific as possible. A substantive comment provides new information about the Proposed Action, an alternative on the analysis; identifies a different way to meet the need; points out a specific flaw in the analysis; suggests alternate methodologies and the reason(s) why they should be used; makes factual corrections, or identifies a different source of credible research which, if used in the analysis, could result in different effects. Comments will be most helpful if you can state specifically what you like and what you don't like, and what improvements you think can be made. Suggest changes and be specific. It is helpful if you can reference a section or page number.