Trump Administration Approves Plan for Oil Drilling Off the Coast of Alaska

Nov 2, 2018

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently approved a plan for oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. This would be the first oil and gas production facility in federal waters off the coast of Alaska.

“American energy dominance is good for the economy, the environment, and our national security. Responsibly developing our resources, in Alaska especially, will allow us to use our energy diplomatically to aid our allies and check our adversaries. That makes America stronger and more influential around the globe,” Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

BOEM’s approval is not a guarantee for the project, the drilling company must still obtain several other permits, and heed federal standards such as restricted drilling into the hydrocarbon-bearing zone, which may occur only during times of solid ice conditions; seasonal restrictions on activities and vessel traffic to reduce potential disturbance to Cross Island subsistence whaling activities; and obtaining all required permits from other state and federal agencies.

Unlike offshore drilling projects in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, this new project would involve creating an artificial island roughly five miles off the coast to host the drilling rather than using a traditional mobile drilling rig. The oil that is recovered would then be sent to the continental U.S. through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

Earlier this summer BOEM published an Environmental Impact Statement examining the potential impacts of this drilling proposal.

To view BOEM’s Record of Decision, Letter of Approval for the project and related documents, click here: https://www.boem.gov/liberty/