Murkowski Calls for Answers to NPR-A CD-5 Letter

Lack of Response from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Creates Unacceptable Delay

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today questioned Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy on her lack of response to a Sept. 20 letter inquiring about the status of the proposed Colville River bridge in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

The exchange can be viewed here and Murkowski’s letter is attached.


Last month, Murkowski sent a letter to Assistant Secretary Darcy requesting a timely resolution of permitting roadblocks that threaten to derail the first oil and gas production in NPR-A.

In her letter, Murkowski stressed the importance of allowing surface access to NPR-A through construction of a road and bridge across the Colville River.

Last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected a plan by ConocoPhillips to reach its lease holdings on the eastern edge of NPR-A by constructing a gravel road and bridge across the Colville. Instead, the Corps determined that a buried pipeline and the use of horizontal drilling, while allowing access to the area only by aircraft, would have less environmental impact. 

ConocoPhillips appealed the decision, saying the absence of a bridge would result in higher development costs and greater environmental impacts. The Interior Department has indicated support for the road and bridge approach.