The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) started accepting public comments Thursday on a plan to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska.
The comment period to discuss a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) is open until Nov. 18, according to a BOEM press release. Public comments will then be added to the final revision of the EIS on the Hilcorp Liberty Oil and Gas Project in the Beaufort Sea.
“The federal submerged lands of the Beaufort Sea are known to have great oil and gas potential,” BOEM acting director Walter Cruickshank said in the press release. “They also contain sensitive marine and coastal resources that Alaska Native communities depend on for subsistence. During this comment period, we look forward to discussing this draft EIS with the Beaufort Sea coastal communities and getting meaningful feedback on ways it can be refined and enhanced.”
The plans include building a nine-acre gravel island in shallow water of the Beaufort Sea that would be comparable to several other islands already created. The drilling operation would tap into an estimated 150 million barrels of crude oil, according to the Arctic Energy Center (AEC).
“The creation of more jobs and greater tax revenue is a huge win for all Alaskans and the development of Liberty will generate much-needed oil for [Trans-Atlantic Pipeline system]; an energy lifeline not only important to the state of Alaska but to America’s energy security,” AEC spokesperson Lucas Frances said in a statement.
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