NEPA Process Starts for West Susitna Access Road

NEPA Process Starts for West Susitna Access Road

June 3, 2022

Good news came for Alaskans who care about the balance between environmental stewardship and responsible resource development this past week, as the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) filed its paperwork with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the NEPA process on the proposed West Susitna Access Road.

The 100-mile transport corridor will one day allow for access to world-class deposits of minerals in areas of the state set aside for development.  In a report in this week’s Petroleum News, AIDEA noted the proposed byway “forms a critical component of the West Susitna Access Project, a project to leverage the economic potential of the West Susitna region.”

The area currently has no road access, but AIDEA notes it is home to “one of the richest resource regions in Alaska and that a road would provide access to billions of dollars of stranded resources.”  In addition to the mineral opportunities, the road would allow increased access for forestry, agriculture, mining and recreational activities.

Of course, any time a project to bring jobs, economic opportunities and state revenues is discussed, the eco-Left mounts a campaign against it.  This time is no different, as both well-known radical organizations and ‘home-grown’ groups have formed to fight the project.

The NEPA process – billed as the “Magna Carta of Environmental Law” by the eco-extremists at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – allows for robust public comment periods and strict scientific review.  Of course, as we’ve seen from the debacle surrounding the Pebble Mine lately, even a clean, ready-to-move-forward final report from the Army Corps can be hijacked by out-of-touch politicians and questionable interference from outside forces.

Let’s hope for Alaska’s sake that this road isn’t met with the same hijinks, because – on its own merits – this road could be game-changing for the area, and allow Alaska’s bright energy future to shine a bit brighter for decades to come.