Republican News

GAO DISPUTES REP. MARKEY’S TALE BASELESS COMPARISONS AKIN TO YELLING FIRE IN A CROWDED THEATER, SAYS MURKOWSKI WASHINGTON – Senator Frank H. Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today issued the following statement after the General Accounting Office responded to his inquiry regarding Rep. Markey’s characterization of a GAO report regarding restoration efforts on Alaska’s North Slope. A copy of the GAO letter follows this fax. “I’m troubled that a Member of Congress would mislead the American people with such inaccuracies. It’s inexcusable that Markey would allege an industry ‘accounting scandal’ that clearly does not exist. In today’s environment, baseless comparisons to Enron are no different than yelling fire in a crowded theater. They stand to hurt real people and threaten real jobs. “Markey is desperate to undermine Alaska’s energy industry. He chooses fiction over fact in his bid to stop the safe exploration of ANWR, undermine the Alaska Pipeline reauthorization and halt a second NPRA lease. “I asked the GAO this week to respond to five different statements made by Rep. Markey in describing the new report. The GAO dismissed a number of Markey’s claims. The GAO report did not fault Alaska for the management of Prudhoe Bay. In fact, the report finds that dismantlement, removal and restoration (DR&R) standards are good for the pipeline and that “lessons we learned from state’s experience resulting in our making recommendations for improving the management of oil and gas activities on federal lands on the North Slope, which the Department of Interior accepted. “The GAO explained that they never alleged any accounting scandal, saying in the letter “our report provides no basis for alleging any ‘accounting scandal.’ The report says companies follow generally accepted accounting principles and that they do report DR&R liabilities on annual reports -- just not by project. There is no evidence that companies are underestimating future liabilities. Clearly the companies involved have deep pockets and will meet lease terms in full. “The GAO looked at state DR&R standards and considered them as a basis for possible federal improvements. In fact, state leases give Alaska all the power it needs to require full cleanup. It makes good sense not to set a standard in stone 30 to 50 years before clean-up is even needed -- technology and our approach to clean-up will change. We shouldn’t lock in some obsolete standard now. “I hope the GAO’s clarification of the facts will not only underscore how safe Alaska’s operations are, but show how one person’s explanation can be so inaccurate.” ###