Comment letter on Decision to Remand the Donlin Gas Pipeline ROW


November 9, 2020

State Pipeline Coordinator’s Section
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1100
Anchorage, AK 99501

Via email to: [email protected]

To Whom It May Concern:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. is writing in response to the State of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner’s Decision to Remand regarding the Donlin Gold LLC (Donlin) right-of-way (ROW) issuance for a natural gas pipeline to the Donlin Gold project in Southwest Alaska.

RDC is a statewide trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s
economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources. 

RDC respectfully urges DNR to move forward with the Donlin ROW for the gas pipeline. RDC has long supported the Donlin Gold project and its potential benefits to the region and to Alaska, including social and economic benefits such as family wage jobs, revenues to local communities, and the potential to bring affordable natural gas to the region.

RDC believes the State Pipeline Coordinator’s Section (SPCS) has properly updated its cumulative impacts analysis to meet the requirement of Alaska law. This demonstrates a high level of input and review, that satisfies the Decision for Remand.

Attached is a copy of RDC’s March 22, 2019 letter supporting the pipeline ROW. RDC’s reasons for support, and correlating support for the pipeline and project have not changed. The opportunity for a pipeline to Western Alaska is much needed, and without stable energy, projects like Donlin in rural Alaska will likely not be feasible. Further, natural gas pipelines are in the best interest for the State and the region.

Donlin proposed the gas pipeline as an alternative after residents along the Kuskokwim River expressed concerns about excess barge traffic delivering diesel to the project. The pipeline will reduce barging of diesel fuel on the Kuskokwim River, which was a concern for residents along the river system.

RDC would like to acknowledge and thank DNR’s efforts for an inclusive public process which included public meetings in the regional hubs, those with communities closest to the proposed pipeline ROW. If constructed, RDC believes the pipeline will be built in a way that creates opportunity for local employment and economic growth, while protecting the subsistence resources, the culture of the region, and the environment.

RDC urges DNR to approve the Donlin pipeline right-of-way lease. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important component of this project.