U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement after Gov. Bill Walker (I-Alaska) sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, signaling the State’s nomination of offshore Arctic areas for the administration’s upcoming Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Leasing Program for 2017-2022.
“I appreciate the governor’s formal nomination of the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Cook Inlet planning areas,” Murkowski said. “While officials in the Obama administration have mistakenly claimed that there is limited interest in developing our OCS, Alaska’s oil and gas managers are busy proving that notion wrong, as they lease to companies in State waters for fields that extend into federal waters.
“I continue to find it stunning how difficult it has been to convince the Obama administration that offshore oil and gas development is not only widely supported by Alaskans, but also can be done while protecting our environment. The governor’s announcement today is another positive step in our multi-year effort to ensure that new federal lease sales occur in the Beaufort and Chukchi as soon as possible.”
Murkowski is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and continues to be a strong supporter of Arctic OCS development. In May 2016, she held a full committee hearing to examine BOEM’s 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, where she touted the significant economic and fiscal benefits that would be associated with Arctic offshore development. Murkowski also led a delegation letter to Secretary Jewell urging the administration to maintain all three proposed Alaska lease sales in the next Five-Year Program.
The Beaufort and Chukchi seas contain an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.