The Office of Project Management and Permitting coordinates state multi-agency regulatory reviews and authorizations, while collaboratively engaging federal agencies on land use planning and policy initiatives to maintain and enhance the state's economy, quality of life, and maximize the value of Alaska's vast natural resources.
- Permit coordination for large and complex natural resource development projects.
- Review proposed federal actions; facilitate federal and state coordination and consultation; coordinate an efficient and reliable multi-agency review process; and prepare consolidated state comments.
- Engage in outreach and educational opportunities to inform the public, industry, legislature, and federal agencies of state interests and positions on large projects, federal actions, and grants.
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|A: Result - Advance permitting efficiencies.|
|A1: Core Service - Permit coordination for large and complex natural resource development projects.|
Target #1: Coordinate the review, permitting, and monitoring of natural and renewable resource development, transportation, and other specialized projects consistent with the missions of the department and participating state agencies.
OPMP Coordinated Projects
Analysis of results and challenges: OPMP’s large project coordination core service is a networked program that builds on the combined regulatory authorities and expertise of state, federal, and local government agencies. OPMP’s coordination service provides a consistent and predictable permitting process for large, complex natural resource development projects while reducing potential conflicts and redundancies for regulatory agencies.
The number and types of projects coordinated by OPMP annually indicates relative demand for the program; it also provides OPMP insight into industry and market trends in Alaska. For example, the decrease in coordinated oil and gas projects from FY2015 to FY2016 represents completion of several focused coordinated permitting requests from oil and gas proponents. The decrease in coordinated mining projects from FY2015 to FY2018, however, represents a slowdown in mineral exploration activities statewide, as well as OPMP’s completion of coordinated reviews for two proposed mines in the Transboundary Region of British Columbia. OPMP anticipates a slight upward trend in the number of coordinated mining projects in the near-term (3-5 years) due to positive economic trends within the industry. The number of coordinated oil and gas projects are expected to remain flat in the near-term due to the industry focusing on completing coordinated permitting efforts for key projects.
OPMP’s principle challenge for providing permit coordination is maintaining sufficient organizational capacity (i.e. staffing, budget resources, etc.) to adjust to fluctuations in coordinated project workloads. Such fluctuations are often driven by factors outside OPMP’s control (i.e. economic conditions, regulatory changes, commodity process, investment trends, etc.), but are an important metric used to gauge relative demand for large project coordination services.
Target #3: Establish and maintain Reimbursable Service Agreements (RSAs) with state agencies to ensure they have the necessary fiscal resources to participate effectively in the coordinated review of projects.
RSA Amounts by Departments
Analysis of results and challenges: Establishing and maintaining RSAs with state agencies provides a mechanism by which those agencies may recover expenditures resulting from the greater demands that large projects and intergovernmental coordination place on the regulatory agencies.
OPMP tracks RSA totals at the department-level as a measure of funding made available to state agencies that participate in OPMP’s large project coordination program. This metric also indicates the networked characteristic of the program. However, cost recovery is limited to actual expenditures, which OPMP reports under Target #2 as revenue.
OPMP’s principle challenge related to RSAs is maintaining continuity during program implementation despite staff turn-over within participating agencies. New staff may be unaware of available funding through OPMP’s project related RSAs, or they may not understand the networked characteristic of the coordinated permitting program administered by OPMP. OPMP addresses this challenge through internal and external training and outreach efforts. Since FY2015, OPMP has observed a general downward trend in total agency RSA amounts. However, this trend is driven, in part, by OPMP working with participating state agencies to ensure their cost estimates, which provide the basis for the issued RSAs, are reasonable and responsive to the project-specific scopes of work.
|B: Result - Protect the State's economic and social interests.|
|B1: Core Service - Review proposed federal actions; facilitate federal and state coordination and consultation; coordinate an efficient and reliable multi-agency review process; and prepare consolidated state comments.|
Target #1: Coordinate multi-agency reviews of federal actions and compile consolidated state comments.
Federal Actions Reviewed
Analysis of results and challenges: State coordination while reviewing proposed federal actions is necessary to protect and advance state interests. Presenting a consolidated response also ensures a strong administrative record and better preserves the State's standing to pursue legal actions, when necessary. Without coordination, individual state agencies may selectively produce multiple, more narrowly focused comments, increasing potential for conflicting positions or information gaps.
The number of federal actions where OPMP has coordinated a multi-agency state response or has otherwise facilitated consultation between state and federal agencies, provides a measure of potential impacts on state interests from national and regional federal land management or federal policy decisions.
Trends in this metric are driven by the number of policies, management plans and actions proposed by federal agencies. The level of federal activity remained relatively consistent from FY2015 to FY2018. In FY2019, OPMP observed decreased planning and project-related workloads related to the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Bureau of Land Management, however, continued planning efforts at a strong pace. These large, complex plans, which can have significant economic impact on the state, are more time intensive and involve multiple planning phases, spanning several years. Therefore, even though the number of federal actions reviewed declined from FY2018 to FY2019, OPMP’s workload for this core service remained steady.
OPMP’s principle challenge is maintaining sufficient organizational capacity (i.e. staffing, training, expertise, budget resources, etc.) to adjust to fluctuations in the number of policies, management plans and actions proposed by federal agencies that may affect Alaska.
|C: Result - Public involvement, community outreach, and policy development.|
|C1: Core Service - Engage in outreach and educational opportunities to inform the public, industry, legislature, and federal agencies of state interests and positions on large projects, federal actions, and grants.|
Target #1: Present and provide subject matter expertise at trainings, workshops, conferences, legislative hearings and local public meetings that address or affect specific state and federal actions or proposed development projects.
Number of Outreach Activities
Analysis of results and challenges: OPMP staff engages in public outreach as a means of communicating state interests on a variety of natural resource issues with a diverse group of stakeholders. Examples of outreach activities include:
• Participation in public meetings, hearings, open houses, or other similar activities during project reviews;
• Responses to inquiries (e.g. citizens, media, etc.) related to natural resource development projects and federal actions;
• Presentations to organizations such as the National Petroleum Council, Alaska Miners Association, Resource Development Council, and other organizations representing Alaska industries;
• Presentations at various workshops providing an overview of the state’s interest and participation in the implementation of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA);
• Presentations and participation in meetings of the Citizen’s Advisory Commission on Federal Areas in FY2015 & FY2016; and
• Presentations and participation at legislative hearings, energy conferences, and resource management conferences, describing unique challenges for wetlands compensatory mitigation under existing federal rule while sharing OPMP’s efforts to establish an In-Lieu Fee mitigation program to help provide additional mitigation opportunities for potential developers and project applicants.
Current as of December 24, 2019