The National Environmental Policy Act created an important process that allows Americans to evaluate the costs and benefits of potential development. Eric Fjelstad and Bill Jeffress offered an interesting perspective in their recent op-ed on the environmental impact statement process as it relates to development in Alaska. While I agree that a longer EIS will not necessarily improve land management decisions, I found it ironic that they included the current draft EIS for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain as an example.
The draft EIS for ANWR was so hastily written that it includes commentary on geographic features that don’t exist and analysis of resources in Ledyard Bay, which is hundreds of miles outside the project area. The hurried timeline for the EIS has yielded a document based on wild speculation and unfounded assumptions. Projects with monumental impacts deserve genuine deliberation, and Alaskans deserve quality data about alternative actions and potential effects.
— Michael Wald
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