Point Thompson Oil and Gas Development
North Slope, Alaska
Hart Crowser worked with URS’s multi-firm consultant team to conduct an environmental assessment of alternatives for development of a major oil and gas development proposed on the North Slope of Alaska. The assessment included evaluation of coastal stability as well as impacts to marine and freshwater fish and their habitats. Project-specific elements included the impacts of drilling, construction, and long-term operations, including the potential effects of oil spills, road and drilling pad construction, barge landings, dredging, and road use and maintenance. A particular focus of Hart Crowser’s effort on the environmental assessment was the potential impacts of a gas pipeline and associated ice and gravel roads on freshwater fish. We also evaluated potential impacts on marine species from barge transportation of equipment and supplies, from construction of piers and dolphins in the nearshore zone, and from associated hardened structures along the shoreline to support barge landings. The company’s analysis evaluated potential effects, especially those on movements of fish and invertebrates that may result from direct habitat loss, scour, coastal bluff erosion, and changes in longshore currents.
The results of these studies have been compiled into three NEPA-compliant sections covering the Affected Environment, Environmental Consequences, and Cumulative Effects. An agency-directed third party EIS has subsequently been prepared. Hart Crowser continued to work with URS to answer data requests by the third party preparer. We also worked with URS to evaluate and provide comments on pre-publication versions of the draft EIS, and, on release, the draft EIS. Our comments involved comparison of alternatives, and the scientific and operational information supporting the ExxonMobil preferred alternative. The joint work by Hart Crowser and URS has also been incorporated into state permits for road crossing of fish-bearing waters and for road maintenance.