Support Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program
Comment Deadline: Tuesday, June 19, 2018  


In accordance with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and the National Environmental Policy Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to implement an oil and gas leasing program within the non-Wilderness portion of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The agency has now initiated the public scoping process for the EIS.

The EIS will serve to inform BLM's implementation of the Tax Act, including the requirement to hold not fewer than two lease sales on the non-Wilderness coastal plain. It may also inform post-lease activities, including seismic and drilling exploration, development, and transportation of oil and gas in and from the coastal plain.

Specifically, the EIS will consider and analyze the potential environmental impacts of various leasing alternatives, including the areas to offer for sale. It will also consider lease stipulations and best management practices to be applied to leases and associated oil and gas activities to properly balance development with existing uses and to limit the footprint of production and support facilities on Federal lands to no more than 2,000 surface acres. The area comprising the coastal plain includes approximately 1.6 million acres within the approximately 19.3 million-acre refuge.

Information received during scoping will influence the development of a proposed action and alternatives and guide the environmental analysis. The EIS will consider all federal lands and waters within the area defined by Congress as the non-Wilderness portion of the coastal plain. Under the Tax Act, not fewer than two lease sales, each to include not fewer than 400,000 acres of the areas with the highest potential of hydrocarbons, must occur by December 2024. The BLM will consider subsistence resources and users, as well as potential actions to minimize adverse impacts to subsistence in accordance with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

Upon completion of a Record of Decision, the BLM intends to conduct lease sales. For additional information, visit

Action Requested: 

A 60-day public comment period is now underway during which time public meetings will be held. Comments will be accepted through Tuesday, June 19, 2018, and can be sent by the following methods:

Public meetings:

  • Fairbanks - Carlson Center, May 29, 4:30-9:00 p.m.
  • Anchorage - Dena'ina Center, May 30, 4:30-9:00 p.m.
  • Utqiagvik - Inupiat Heritage Center, May 31, 5:00 p.m.

Format for meetings:

  • Open house starts at 3:00 p.m. 
  • BLM presentation at 4:30 p.m.
  • Invited speakers at 5:00 p.m.
  • General public comments at 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.  

Public testimony will be first come, first serve. Please arrive early to obtain a comment card issued by BLM and then come back and testify. The comment cards do not guarantee folks will be given a chance to speak, but those with cards will be given priority.

Here is the web portal and email address for folks to submit comments if they cannot attend the hearings:

Points to Consider: 

  • The proposed oil and gas leasing program would allow development of no more than 2,000 acres of the 1.6 million acres of the coastal plain – part of the non-wilderness portion of refuge’s 19 million acres. That is equivalent to just 0.01 percent of the entire refuge. 
  • Responsible oil and gas development in this fraction of the refuge will help ensure America’s energy security for decades and allow Alaska – and our nation as a whole – to realize the benefits that come from expanding energy production in Alaska. 
  • While renewable energy is a growing part of America’s energy portfolio, it is still projected to account for a minority of American energy production in 2040. New oil and gas production will be required to power America’s economy and can serve as a bridge until renewable energy becomes a dominant energy source decades into the future. 
  • Energy production from the coastal has the potential to offset a decline in Lower 48 shale oil production, which is expected to commence in approximately a decade. Without limited oil development on the coastal plain, America will be forced to once again increase its reliance on foreign imports. With limited development in ANWR, America and Alaska can continue to grow the economy and reduce dependence on foreign oil.  
  • The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the coastal plain is North America’s greatest prospect for conventional onshore oil production, with a mean likelihood of containing 10.4 billion barrels of oil and 8.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as a reasonable chance of economically producing 16 billion barrels of oil. 
  • Alaska’s economic lifeline, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), is now running at three-quarters empty. New oil production from the coastal plain has the potential to reverse throughput in TAPS, a vital component of American energy infrastructure.  
  • Oil development on a fraction of the coastal plain would create thousands of jobs nationwide, generate billions of dollars in government revenue, keep energy prices for American consumers affordable, and further improve energy security for decades into the future. 
  • Since the non-Wilderness portion of the coastal plain is less than 60 miles from TAPS, development of energy resources there is one of the most environmentally-sound ways to increase oil production in Alaska. 
  • Thanks to continuing improvements in technology, practices, and oversight, the oil industry has demonstrated over the past 40 years that North Slope energy development and environmental stewardship can and do coexist. The industry has a proven track record of responsible development in sensitive areas, protecting the environment, wildlife and subsistence needs of local residents. 
  • Development of Native-owned lands on the coastal plain would provide significant economic benefits to Alaska Natives on the North Slope as well as throughout the state through direct payment of royalties and revenue sharing among the Alaska Native corporations and their shareholders.

  • The coastal plain was specifically identified by Congress, pursuant to Section 1002 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, for its potential for oil and natural gas resources. Oil and gas from the non-Wilderness Coastal Plain is an important resource for meeting our nation’s energy demands and achieving energy dominance. 
  • Polls have consistently shown Alaskans overwhelmingly support responsible oil and gas development in the non-wilderness portion of ANWR.  There is no valid reason why we should not be allowed to access the world-class resources within just a tiny fraction of the coastal plain.

 Comment deadline is Tuesday, June 19, 2018