Republican News

Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today expressed concern about the environmental review of ConocoPhillips’ Greater Moose’s Tooth (GMT-1) project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A).

“Though I’m glad Interior has finally issued this review, I am concerned about the critical project decisions that are being left for the record of decision, which could impact whether this project moves forward or not,” Murkowski said. “Federal leaseholders need to have a permitting process that is timely and predictable in order to invest the billions of dollars it takes to develop America’s energy resources.”

Interior’s supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS), released Wednesday after months of delay, rejects ConocoPhillips’ preferred alternative for developing its federal leases at GMT-1 with an 8-mile gravel road that would allow year-round drilling.

Instead, Interior selected a longer and more expensive road option, but said it would leave the final decision open until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finish their own reviews of the project.

The SEIS also says that development in the NPR-A could have major impacts on subsistence – an assertion ConocoPhillips and surrounding Alaska Native landowners dispute.

Murkowski said she expects this determination to be walked-back in the final record of decision once mitigation measures, particularly those ConocoPhillips has already built into the project, and the benefits of a road – which increases access for subsistence hunting and fishing – have been taken into account.

Interior needed to finalize the SEIS by the end of October to ensure the Corps of Engineers and EPA have sufficient time to complete the permitting process in time for ConocoPhillips to begin production by 2017.

If successful, GMT-1 would represent the first oil production in Alaska from federal lands. It is projected to add 30,000 barrels of oil per day to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which is critical to help reverse the pipeline’s decline in throughput.

Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee, the authorizing and appropriating committees with jurisdiction over the Interior Department.