Comment on the Willow Project Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement
Comment deadline was August 29, 2022




In August 2021, the U.S. District Court for Alaska vacated the Record of Decision and Final EIS. The Bureau of Land Management prepared a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to address deficiencies identified by the court decision, and to ensure compliance with applicable law. This process relied on meaningful input from federal agencies, environmental organizations, Alaska Native organizations, numerous State of Alaska agencies and the affected communities along the North Slope.

BLM Alaska coordinated with eight cooperating agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, North Slope Borough, State of Alaska, US Environmental Protection Agency, Native Village of Nuiqsut, and City of Nuiqsut) and external stakeholders to develop and evaluate alternatives.

On July 8, 2022, the BLM released a Draft SEIS for the Willow Master Development Plan submitted by ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. This Draft SEIS responds to the just a few issues identified in the August 2021 U.S. District Court of Alaska decision in litigation brought by the Sierra Club following the BLM's adoption of a Final EIS and Record of Decision in 2020. This is now the fifth comment period since August 2018, and perhaps one of the most analyzed projects in Alaska. Despite a lengthy and rigorous environmental review, however, the Project could still benefit from individual/organization/company letters of support during this 45-day comment period.

The Willow Master Development Plan (MDP) for the Willow oil and gas prospect focuses on surface resource protection and appropriate mitigation for construction, operation, and maintenance of a central processing facility, an infrastructure pad, up to five drill pads with up to 50 wells per pad, access and infield roads, an airstrip, pipelines, a gravel mine, and an ice bridge across the Coleville River to support module delivery via sealift barges in the NPR-A. The prospect is centrally located in the Bear Tooth Unit of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), west of the Alpine development, and will use infrastructure from Greater Mooses Tooth 1 and proposed Greater Mooses Tooth 2 developments.

The Bureau of Land Management prepared the Willow Master Development Plan EIS in response to a letter submitted by ConocoPhillips on May 10, 2018, and is supplementing the 2020 Willow MDP EIS in response to the Alaska District Court's decision vacating the Willow Record of Decision in August 2021. Analyzing the entire proposed Willow development in a single master development plan EIS will allow the BLM to make determinations of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) adequacy when individual applications for permits to drill or rights-of-way are submitted.


Action Requested:

RDC members are encouraged to comment on the Willow Project DSEIS, and urge the BLM not to extend the comment period any further and to support Alternative E before the August 29th deadline.


There is also an opportunity to participate in virtual public meetings:


Comments may be submitted to:

Willow SEIS Comments
222 W. 7th Avenue,
Stop #13,
Anchorage, Alaska  99513




Points to consider: 

  • The project has undergone nearly five years of rigorous regulatory review and environmental analysis, including extensive baseline scientific studies.

  • The draft SEIS includes a new Alternative (Alt E) developed by BLM and cooperating agencies in cooperation with stakeholders in response to the court ruling. Alt E represents a good path forward for the Willow project and significantly reduces surface impacts.

  • There has been extensive public involvement, including more than 5 public comment periods, 215 days of public comment, a public scoping period, and 25 public meetings in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nuiqsut, Utqiagvik, Atqasuk, Anaktuvuk Pass and virtually since BLM commenced the NEPA process.
  • A timely final SEIS and Record of Decision by BLM will enable Willow construction to begin in the 2022-2023 winter season. 
  • Timely project approval will avoid further delay in public benefits and reduce risk and uncertainty for the Alaska economy and North Slope stakeholders.
  • According to BLM draft SEIS estimates under two oil price scenarios, Willow could generate between ~$8 and $17 billion in new revenue for the federal government, the State of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, and communities in and around NPR-A.  BLM included revenue estimates based on average real prices of ~$61-$80 per barrel average. BLM has estimated the project will provide between $1.3 and $5.2 billion in State of Alaska revenue from production, property, and income taxes and over $1.2 billion in North Slope Borough (NSB) revenue from property taxes.

  • Even under an accelerated energy transition scenario, global oil demand is expected to increase over the next several decades. Oil from Willow will be among the most technologically advanced and environmentally and socially responsible barrels produced in the world. Willow will generate between $2.3 and $3.6 billion for the NPR-A Impact Mitigation Grant Program over the life of the project. NPR-A impact grants to North Slope city governments fund city operations, youth programs, and essential community projects which in turn create local jobs for residents.

  • Willow is expected to create as many as 2,000 jobs during construction. The development is estimated to create 300 permanent jobs.

  • In addition to stimulating Alaska’s economy, Willow will also promote U.S. energy security by increasing competitive, low GHG intensity domestic oil supply.

  • Willow has broad support from North Slope stakeholders and other Alaskans.

Comments were due on August 29, 2022