U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement after the Department of the Interior released its final regulation for energy development in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
“I am reviewing this rule to determine whether the department took into account the substantive comments it received from Alaskans, including comments that were intended to resolve real defects in the draft proposal,” Murkowski said. “What we know already is that one company invested nearly $8 billion to complete just one well while operating under guidelines that inspired this rule – which means it is hardly a recipe for successful production in the Arctic.”
The rule finalized today by the Department of the Interior revises and adds new requirements to regulations for exploratory drilling and related operations in the Arctic OCS. While claiming to increase safety and environmental standards, Interior’s rule appears more likely to reduce investment and harm energy production in the region.
“This rule should be a positive sign for the administration’s willingness to offer new leases in the offshore Arctic, but instead it continues to hint toward an even more uncertain future for the regulatory regime in this region,” Murkowski said. “I am dismayed by the regulatory onslaught the administration is launching on American energy production in its final days.”
The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas contain an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. According to a 2014 poll, an overwhelming majority of Alaskans support the development of those resources.
Murkowski is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.