WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today welcomed the Interior Department’s proposed schedule for revising its environmental review of drilling leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea to resolve challenges from environmental groups.
“The timeline filed today by the Interior Department is a positive step. Under the terms proposed to the court, it appears possible that Interior will complete the court-ordered supplemental assessment in time for Shell to resume exploration next summer,” Murkowski said.
“However, this is only part of what the administration must do in the coming months to ensure an exploration season in the Chukchi Sea next summer. I am still waiting for the administration to make a genuine commitment to Arctic development – and to provide much-needed regulatory and permitting predictability. Companies willing to invest billions of dollars to develop our resources must have confidence that the federal agencies responsible for overseeing their efforts will meet their deadlines in a way that will withstand judicial scrutiny.”
Alaska’s Arctic offshore is estimated to contain 24 billion barrels of oil and 104 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Shell has so far invested close to $6 billion to develop its leases in Alaska’s Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Murkowski is Alaska’s senior senator and the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.