Comment Letter on the Nanushuk Project Final Environmental Impact Statement

November 27, 2018

Ms. Ellen Lyons
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CEPOA-RD
2175 University Avenue, Suite 201E
Fairbanks, AK 99709

Re: Nanushuk Project Final Environmental Impact Statement

Dear Ms. Lyons:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing to express its strong support for Alternative 5 in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Nanushuk Project, which could ultimately prove to be one of the largest fields discovered on the North Slope.

RDC is an Alaskan business association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s oil and gas, mining, forest products, tourism and fisheries industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native Corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources. 

RDC encourages the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adopt Alternative 5 as its Preferred Alternative in the FEIS. Of the action alternatives, Alternative 5 would have the fewest direct effects to water bodies and floodplains, the smallest area of high-value wetlands loss, have the least impact on polar bear denning habitat, and the second smallest area of habitat alterations.

New oil production from Nanushuk could add up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, Alaska’s economic life-line that is now running at three-quarters empty. Alaska desperately needs more oil production and Nanushuk has the potential to deliver significant new volumes.

Nanushuk could be one of the most significant discoveries on the North Slope since the discovery of the Kuparuk and Alpine fields. The project would generate significant long-term economic activity with hundreds of North Slope construction jobs and additional direct jobs in Anchorage. For each direct oil industry job, 20 additional jobs are generated across the Alaska economy.

Given the Nanushuk project is located near existing infrastructure, environmental impacts are likely to be minimal. With evolving improvements in technology, best practices, and oversight, the industry has demonstrated that North Slope energy development and environmental stewardship can and do coexist.

In conclusion, RDC is confident the Nanushuk Project can be developed in a responsible and safe manner. We support Alternative 5 as the Preferred Alternative and encourage the Corps to move forward in a timely manner. 

Thank you for the opportunity to express our support for this important project.