Why is an Environmental Impact Statement necessary?

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires agencies to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) when an action may significantly affect the quality of the physical and human environment. The process begins when someone applies for a federal permit for an activity that is likely to significantly affect the environment, including land, air, water, animals, and communities.  Congress enacted NEPA to make sure that federal agencies are aware of the environmental effects from their decisions and consider: 

  • The ideas and concerns of the public, as stated during scoping meetings and in review comments on draft documents
  • A range of alternatives, including not allowing the proposed activity (no action)
  • Current environmental conditions and how the proposed activity might affect the environment
  • Address mitigation measures that may be necessary to reduce impacts.

Just as important, the EIS creates opportunities for tribes and local communities to provide information on local resources and potential effects, to voice their concerns and to understand the potential effects of the proposed project.

EIS Team

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the lead federal agency directing all work on the EIS. The USACE has full authority and responsibility for the scope and contents of the EIS. They make the final determination as to whether the document reflects a hard, objective look at the public interest and environmental factors, and whether the data provided are adequate and accurate. The USACE will use this document to inform and document their decision making process.



DOWL is the third party contractor that will provide the supportive expertise, personnel, and technical capabilities required for the preparation of the EIS and related documents. DOWL will facilitate the EIS process and act as an extension of the USACE's staff.


Cooperating Agencies

The Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, North Slope Borough, and Native Village of Nuiqsut have been invited to act as cooperating agencies during the EIS process due to their specific permitting authority, special expertise, and/or consultation requirements for the project.


Oil Search (Alaska), LLC

Oil Search Alaska, LLC is proposing to develop its oil and gas lease area on the North Slope, which will require a Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The Applicant has provided information on the project and how it would be constructed and operated. The application also includes background studies on the environmental resources in the project area and their analysis of potential environmental effects.


What is the Process for Approval?

The flow chart below shows the steps of the EIS process.