ePlanning DOI-BLM-AK-F010-2016-0042-EIS (NPR-A GMT2 Alpine Satellite Development Plan SEIS)  
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08/31/2018 10:04:43 MDT
Read the GMT2 Final Supplemental EIS Executive Summary here.

The Regional Mitigation Strategy is available to view here; you can also view it in the Links tab. 
Executive Summary

What is the BLM proposing to do in this supplemental EIS?
BLM-Alaska prepared this supplemental EIS to analyze an application by ConocoPhillips to construct, operate, and maintain a drill site, access road, pipelines, and ancillary facilities to support development of petroleum resources at the proposed Greater Mooses Tooth 2 (GMT2) site within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A). The key issues in the supplemental EIS center on oil and gas production decisions, the protection of surface resources, access to subsistence resources, and appropriate mitigation measures.

The purpose of the supplemental EIS is to evaluate any relevant new circumstances and information that have arisen since the Alpine Satellite Development Plan Final EIS, dated September 2004. Additionally, the BLM completed the NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision in 2013 to determine the appropriate management of the BLM-administered lands (public lands) in the nearly 23-million-acre NPR-A. This supplemental EIS tiers to both of these previous National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses and incorporates them by reference.

What are the major issues and focus of controversy?
The key issues in the supplemental EIS are analysis of impacts to surface resources, particularly subsistence resources, and analysis of socioeconomic impacts. Much of the analysis focuses on issues raised in scoping, such as subsistence and wildlife protections; impacts of and contributions to global climate change, impacts to water quality and air quality; air traffic effects; economic benefits to Alaska Natives; and cumulative effects of oil and gas development on the North Slope. The supplemental EIS examines a range of alternatives for the GMT2 Project, and considers relevant and reasonable mitigation measures, consistent with BLM policy.

Of particular interest is the proximity of the GMT2 site to the Village of Nuiqsut, and potential impacts to subsistence. Potential impacts to subsistence may result from hunter avoidance of the area, changes in access to subsistence use areas, resource (particularly caribou) availability, community participation in subsistence activities, aircraft traffic, spills, and rehabilitation of infrastructure upon abandonment.

What measures are being taken to reduce impacts?
All action alternatives incorporate ConocoPhillips’ existing lease stipulations for the GMT Unit, as well as best management practices contained in the 2013 NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision. ConocoPhillips has requested that BLM grant deviations to two stipulations/best management practices (Appendix I). BLM will determine whether or not to grant these deviations in its record of decision.

As the GMT2 applicant and primary oil development company in the Nuiqsut area, ConocoPhillips has attempted to mitigate impacts from flights in its existing Alpine Development Field, and financially contributes to subsistence support programs in the community. ConocoPhillips has also incorporated project designs, such as subsistence pullouts, to reduce impacts to subsistence and other resources.

BLM is considering the adoption of new potential mitigation measures as part of its GMT2 supplemental EIS authorization, which are analyzed for applicable resources throughout Chapter 4 of this document. BLM will determine which new mitigation measures to adopt in its record of decision.

What alternatives are being considered by BLM?

The final supplemental EIS contains three action alternatives and a no-action alternative (Alternative D). Alternative A, the Proponent’s Proposal, consists of an 8.2-mile gravel road and pipeline connecting the GMT2 pad with existing infrastructure at GMT1. Alternative B, the Alternate Road Alignment, consists of a 9.4-mile road and pipeline connecting the GMT2 pad to existing infrastructure. The alternate road alignment follows the watershed divide between the Fish Creek and Ublutuoch drainages. Alternative C, Roadless Development, consists of an 8.6-mile pipeline connecting GMT2 with infrastructure at GMT1, and an airstrip and occupied structure pad to support operations at GMT2.

Alternative A is the BLM’s preferred alternative. The identification of a preferred alternative does not constitute a commitment or decision in principle, and there is no requirement to select the preferred alternative in the Agency’s record of decision. If warranted, the BLM may select a different alternative than the preferred alternative in its record of decision.

BLM’s final supplemental EIS analysis reached a preliminary conclusion that Alternative A would be the least environmentally damaging alternative that meets the purpose and need for the GMT2 Project. Development of GMT2 under all action alternatives may significantly restrict subsistence; however, Alternatives A and B would likely have the fewest impacts to subsistence. These alternatives require less air traffic close to the community than Alternative C, and air traffic is the most frequently reported caribou hunting impact associated with development.

What is next?
The Notice of Availability for the GMT2 Final Supplemental EIS published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2018. The GMT2 Final Supplemental EIS is available for public review in the Documents tab.