Comment letter on Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation’s Incidental Harassment Authorization


January 7, 2021

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Submitted via

Re: Docket No. FWS-R7-ES-2020-0129.

To Whom It May Concern:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing to comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) notice related to Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation’s (KIC) Incidental Harassment Authorization for seismic surveying.

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 urges the USFWS to approve the permit, allowing for access for seismic and exploration activity. Given extensive mitigation measures and monitoring requirements, the survey is not likely to adversely affect polar bears.

The USFWS estimates that this project may result in the nonlethal incidental take of up to three polar bears. This proposed authorization will be for take of three polar bears by Level B harassment only. No take by injury or death to polar bears is likely.

KIC’s proposed exploration program will provide up to date seismic data to help identify the valuable oil and gas reserves on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This information will be timely with today’s technology. This information will help inform industry decisions related to the leasing and development of the Coastal Plain. In addition, KIC has proposed a robust program that includes numerous measures to protect the environment, wildlife, and subsistence resources on the Coastal Plain.

RDC encourages the USFWS to issue the proposed letter of authorization. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.