Protect Teshekpuk

Caribou herd of Teshekpuk Lake. Photos by Keri Oberly

 

This is a sacred place to Iñupiat peoples

Teshekpuk Lake has been a place for spiritual, mental, and physical well-being to the Iñupiat Peoples since time immemorial. This has been a place rich with fish, tuttu (caribou), and birds that have sustained the Iñupiat Peoples for generations and generations. Teshekpuk is the birthing grounds of the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd; this herd has lived in balance with Inupiat peoples, providing sustenance for at least 5 villages on the North Slope.

 
 
 

The threat of the Proposed Willow project

“The MDP [Willow Master Development Plan] includes up to five drill sites, a central processing facility, an operations center pad, up to 38.2 miles of gravel roads, up to 924.2 miles of ice roads during construction and up to 215.6 total miles of resupply ice roads during operations, 1 to 2 airstrips, up to 337 miles of pipelines, and a gravel mine site. In addition, the Proponent would submit applications to the State of Alaska for a module transfer island (MTI) on State submerged lands to support module delivery via sealift barges.” -BLM EIS Statement

This project is massive, with little to no research on the impact of the cumulative projects across the Arctic Slope and within the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPR-A). This are is the birthing grounds of 60,000 caribou. Nuiqsut residents have spoken out about sick fish, signs of starvation in caribou, and toxic air quality directly caused by oil and gas extraction within the NPR-A. Climate change in the Arctic is happening faster than any other place in the world; continuing fossil fuel dependence is speeding this climate chaos out of control. Additionally, the detrimental amounts of pollutants and contaminates caused by drilling and extraction projects is happening, literally, in the back yards of Iñupiaq peoples and without their full and informed consent.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

The Willow MDP Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released Aug. 23, 2019. The Deadline to make public comments on the DEIS is October 29, 2019. The DEIS is inadequate and does not take into account all the detrimental impacts of this project. There are numerous concerns to include in your comments — check out the below points, and download the Willow Project Talking Points. Write up your comments and email them to BLM_AK_Willow_Comments@blm.gov.

Bureau of Land Management is holding PUBLIC MEETINGS

Go to a BLM Public Meeting and make your comments publicly. Take talking point and be ready to submit them in person as well as speak them.

Public Meetings for the Willow MDP:

  • Fairbanks, AK – Mon, Sept. 9, 2019, 6-8 p.m., Westmark Hotel Fairbanks

  • Anaktuvuk Pass, AK – Tue, Sept. 10, 2019, 6-8 p.m., Anaktuvuk Pass Community Center

  • Anchorage, AK – Thu, Sept. 12, 2019, 6-8 p.m., Crowne Plaza Hotel-Midtown

  • Utqiagvik, AK – Wed, Sept. 18, 2019, 6-8 p.m., Iñupiat Heritage Center

  • Atqasuk, AK – Thu, Sept. 19, 2019, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Atqasuk Community Center

  • Nuiqsut, AK – Wed, Oct. 2, 2019, 5-8 p.m., Kisik Community Center / ANILCA 810 Hearing

Public comments are being accepted until October 29th 2019. The project manager Racheal Jones is reachable at rajones@blm.gov or (907) 290–0307. Please let her know exactly how you feel about this project and the rushed process.

MAJOR CONCERNS

Main Points

  • BLM is piling on project proposal documents and comment periods all at once— including those for Willow, the Ambler road, and the LNG gas line--making it impossible for people to weigh in on multiple proposals that interrelate, accumulate impacts, and will dramatically affect the entire Arctic region.

  • BLM has made it hard for those most affected to participate in the public process.

  • The proposed Willow project is massive--and so are its impacts to food access, human

    health, wildlife, waterways, lands, and climate.

  • Willow will have huge impacts on special areas in the National Petroleum Reserve- Alaska and beyond, including the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area.

  • BLM’s draft EIS for Willow provides no meaningful alternatives to the ConocoPhillips proposal, defying legal requirements.

  • BLM does not acknowledge the health impacts in a new report “Air pollution in Alaska’s North Slope” that Nuiqsut residents and stakeholders have voiced concerns about.

  • The value of the NPRA’s subsurface oil and gas resources fluctuates with the price of oil (which today remains low) and an evolving global context in which nations must inevitably transition away from nonrenewable energy sources in favor of sustainable energy options.

  • 60,000 caribou birth in the Teshekpuk Lake area that will be directly affected by the Willow project. Teshekpuk Herd feeds five villages on the North Slope and the Willow Projects puts Iñupiat Peoples food security in danger.

Main points and in-depth talking points can be downloaded below