Protect the Arctic Refuge
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is under threat like no other time. Through the Trump Administration's Tax Cut and Jobs Act the most vital and sensitive portion of the Refuge (the 1002 Coastal Plain area) has been changed from a "refuge" to a mandated zone for oil and gas development.
Public Comment open until June 19th on the Environmental impact statement "Scoping"
WHAT IS SCOPING?
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to consider all environmental and social impacts of a proposal before taking action. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for an oil and gas leasing program on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge. The EIS will analyze the potential impacts from oil and gas activities on the Coastal Plain, consider different options for how it might conduct the oil and gas program, and look at mitigation measures to decrease impacts.
The first step in the NEPA process is scoping. Scoping provides an important opportunity for the public to inform BLM of relevant issues, needed studies, concerns and potential impacts of oil and gas activities in the Coastal Plain, and to influence the scope of the EIS. BLM will use the scoping comments to develop the EIS, determine what to analyze, and form alternatives.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TALK ABOUT IN YOUR SCOPING COMMENTS?
Scoping comments are your chance to bring up issues, impacts, and alternatives that you want BLM to consider in the EIS. Your opinion matters. Be sure to tell BLM that you are opposed to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge AND also why you are opposed. Raise anything that you feel may be important; scoping guides the rest of BLM’s environmental review process.
You can submit your comments to BLM here:
- The potential impacts of oil and gas development to resources such as water, air, fish and wildlife, subsistence resources, caribou migration, culture, community health, recreation, wilderness, climate change, and more.
- The EIS should include scientific studies AND Indigenous traditional science.
- Translation in Gwichin and Inupiaq is necessary. The EIS and all related documents should be understandable to ALL, especially those most impacted. All meetings should also have translators present.
- Extend the commenting period 120 days, Alaskans and the rest of the country do not have adequate time to comment.
- More public hearings are necessary. The Arctic Refuge is a national treasure, all U.S. citizens should have the opportunity to give public comments.
- International laws and public process should be followed. Development in the Refuge will have impacts on Canadian residents, they too should have the opportunity to voice their concerns.
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