CEA of Oil and Gas Development on Alaskas North Slope
Moderator: Jon Isaacs
Institutional Challenges in Managing the Cumulative Impacts of North Slope Oil and Gas Development
Presenter(s): Jon Isaacs, Joan Kluwe
In 2003, the National Research Council concluded that there was no comprehensive assessment of the cumulative effects of North Slope oil and gas development. Stakeholders are conscientiously addressing cumulative impacts. Potential solutions include 1) an updated database of past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future effects for consistent impact assessment, 2) common standards and thresholds to assess impacts, 3) agreement/funding commitment on topical and geographic areas for baseline research, and 4) effective monitoring programs for adaptive management of cumulative impacts.
Perspective on Cumulative Effects of Oil and Gas Development from North Slope Residents
Presenter(s): Johnny Aiken, Jon Isaacs
The North Slope Borough’s predominantly Inupiat Eskimo population lives in eight far-flung communities. Indigenous culture relies on the land and sea; subsistence activities revolve around whaling, hunting, fishing, and trapping. Benefits from development include improved infrastructure; business opportunities for Native corporations, and local jobs and revenue. Oilfield development has impacted access to traditional subsistence use areas; concerns are growing regarding human health and cultural welfare. Additional cumulative effects research is needed to understand and mitigate potential impacts.
Environmental Effects of Beaufort Sea Causeways: Revisited
Presenter(s): Joseph Colonell
In the 1980s, two gravel-fill causeways were constructed into the nearshore Beaufort Sea to support North Slope oilfields. Regulators feared 1) causeways would obstruct alongshore movements of anadromous fish, 2) causeway-induced alterations of local hydrography would be detrimental to fish habitat, and 3) interaction of causeways would exacerbate these impacts. Industry-supported monitoring concluded that causeways had no population-level effects on anadromous species. A National Academy of Sciences 2003 study of North Slope oilfields cumulative effects concurred.
Development of an Integrated Impact Assessment Model for Oil and Gas Production in a Sensitive Arctic Environment
Presenter(s): Bruce St. Pierre
ConocoPhillips recently completed an Integrated Impact Assessment Model to study impacts related to proposed oil and gas production activities in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska. A computer simulation model was developed to predict, combine, and compare economic, environmental, and health and safety impacts related to construction, drilling and operations for a number of different development scenarios including construction of a permanent road from a neighboring oil field and two roadless options using only seasonal ice roads and air transport.