The U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) undertook an environmental impact statement (EIS) to inform federal offshore oil and gas plans for five years, spanning 2007-2012. Areas in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska’s North Coast were among those being considered for oil and gas leasing. The North Slope Borough collaborated with the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, a nonprofit organization, to complete a rapid HIA of the draft EIS. Through a series of negotiations on this EIS and a simultaneous EIS for MMS Lease Sale 193, the North Slope Borough convinced the MMS of the need to better address health impacts in its final EIS. Ultimately, the MMS included much of this rapid HIA in the final EIS, under subsections on environmental justice.
This represents one of the first examples of a U.S. federal agency including information from an HIA in an EIS. The North Slope Borough proposed mitigation measures, including monitoring contaminants in air and locally-harvested fish and game, protecting the food supply and addressing the social impacts (such as drug and alcohol abuse) that might be exacerbated by a large-scale influx of non-resident oil and gas workers to remote Alaska Native communities—MMS agreed to consider these mitigation measures in subsequent region-specific EISs that would evaluate specific areas in the region for leasing potential.
This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.