Murkowski Welcomes First Step on New Offshore Leasing Plan

June 29, 2017
06:45 PM

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement after President Donald Trump announced that the Department of the Interior has taken the first step toward a new Five-Year Program for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy development.

“I’m pleased the administration has wasted no time in starting the process for a new and better plan that could increase offshore development in Alaska and elsewhere,” Murkowski said. “With technological innovation, offshore development is now cheaper, easier, safer, and farther-reaching than ever before. What has not changed is that offshore development is a critical source of energy, jobs, and security, so I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke to develop a strong plan for our state and nation.”

In April, President Trump issued an Executive Order that lifted a sweeping moratorium on leasing in Alaska’s Arctic OCS and instructed the Department of the Interior to consider revising the current Five-Year Program for 2017-2022. The first step in that process, a Request for Information from the Department of the Interior, will appear in the Federal Register on Monday, July 3.  

According to the Department of the Interior, Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas form one of the most prospective basins in the world. Together, these areas are estimated to hold 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Most Alaskans support the responsible development of those resources, but the previous administration finalized a Five-Year Program that did not include a single sale in the Beaufort or the Chukchi, and then attempted to indefinitely withdraw some 125 million acres of Arctic waters from future leasing.

Murkowski is the chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.