After a lawsuit, a major oil project on the North Slope of Alaska is moving forward again
On Friday, the federal Bureau of Land Management released a draft environmental impact statement for the Willow Project, a major oil development planned on federal lands on Alaska’s North Slope.
Willow, which at peak production is expected to deliver up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, is clashing with environmental groups who successfully overturned an earlier impact statement that would have allowed the project to move forward.
The publication of the new impact study is necessary to advance the project towards construction.
Members of the public have until 10 p.m. on August 29 to voice their support for one of five options for the future of the project. Alternatives include “Option A”, which would not build it, and “Option B”, which is preferred by ConocoPhillips Alaska, the company backing the project.
On Friday, the original BLM project said it supports “Option E,” which reduces the amount of surface infrastructure to something less than ConocoPhillips prefers. Early Saturday morning, the BLM said the language was in error and it did not have a preferred option.
The State of Alaska and the Alaska Congressional Delegation supported the project.
At current oil prices, the Willow project could be eligible for hundreds of millions of dollars in state tax credits, according to information provided to the Alaska Legislature in 2019.
In the long term, the project is expected to generate several billion dollars in additional revenue for the state and generate work for construction companies and oil service companies.
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