Press Release – ConocoPhillips Pushes to Fast Track New Alaska Drilling Without Promised Mitigation for Past Project
(Anchorage, AK – September 1, 2015) Last week, ConocoPhillips submitted an application to develop a second drilling project on federal public lands in America’s western arctic. ConocoPhillips Greater Moose’s Tooth-2 (GMT-2) proposal would include nine miles of new road and pipeline and develop upwards of 75 acres for a proposed oil field. This development take place in the western arctic and occur adjacent to an important wildlife area, home to a large caribou herd and migratory birds from across the globe.
ConocoPhillips proposal to “fast-track” the GMT-2 project comes at a time when the Bureau of Land Management is still more than a year away from completing a regional mitigation strategy for the ConocoPhillips Greater Moose’s Tooth-1. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) granted ConocoPhillips approval to develop (GMT-1). In doing so the BLM promised Alaska Native communities and other stakeholders that millions of dollars would be spent to create a new mitigation strategy to offset impacts that could not be avoided or minimized for the destruction of habitat, environmental degradation, and impacts to subsistence resources and activities caused by GMT-1 AND to “serve as a roadmap for future projects.”
“America’s western arctic is the largest intact wild area left in the nation,” said Bruce Babbitt, former Secretary of the Interior. “This fragile ecosystem supports an amazing array of species and is essential to the subsistence survival of Alaska Natives. Development in this area should not be fast-tracked. It should only be done after careful thought and consideration of its irreversible consequences.”
Conservation organizations are asking the permitting agency, the Bureau of Land Management, to not proceed with a permitting process for development of GMT-2 until the promised roadmap for compensatory mitigation is completed, and adequate mitigation has occurred.
“There is absolutely no reason that the BLM should give in to ConocoPhillips demands to fast-track a new drilling project, when they haven’t even been given time to address the mitigation of ConocoPhillips’ last project,” said Lindsey Hajduk , Alaska Program Director at the Conservation Lands Foundation. “BLM has engaged dozens of stakeholder groups in the process to create a regional mitigation strategy in the Western Arctic. If this strategy is going to have any meaningful conservation benefit, ConocoPhillips can’t be permitted to do an end run on the process.”