Industrial Development Management Assistance for the Alaskan Coastal Communities

Many of Alaska’s coastal communities were faced with rapid industrial growth associated with oil and gas exploration, development and production on Alaska’s outer continental shelf. To support offshore operations, the industry required sheltered harbors, airport facilities and community infrastructure to provide needed services.

This study investigated and recommended development strategies that would be suited to the communities and the requirements of OCS onshore industrialization. We provided the communities with guidance in planning and negotiating agreements with developers to provide for a level and pattern of growth that reflects local desires, and protected their valued social and environmental qualities. We developed a simple ongoing process for small communities to evaluate land development opportunities, respond to new requests for expansion and/or development, and develop environmental regulatory and monitoring procedures that could be readily implemented. The options outlined included various forms of leases, concessions and joint developments, indicating the possibilities and considerations for the local jurisdictions to provide land, capital, infrastructure, services, and/or other inputs for commensurate returns from the concessioners and developers/operators.

We then recommended procedures for the communities to solicit, screen, and select development proposals and negotiate with prospective developers and outlined the procedures in a guide book/manual designed to provide clear and practical assistance to the coastal communities.

The study was performed for the State of Alaska and funded through the Coastal Management Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The U.S. Department of Commerce reprinted the guide and distributed it to all communities along the east and west coasts of the United States, wherever outer continental shelf oil and gas development was being considered. The Department of Commerce specifically recommended that the communities adopt and follow the recommended procedures.