Republican News

Republican News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement regarding the Interior Department’s release of a revised environmental impact statement on the 2008 sale of oil leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

“Today’s updated environmental impact statement for the Chukchi Sea is good news. Hopefully this will satisfy the court and allow responsible drilling to resume next summer,” Murkowski said. “There’s already been some slippage in the timeline for releasing the revised review. We’re now getting down to the wire and it’s vital that there be no further delay. The leaseholders are under a very tight schedule and have to receive final approval for their drilling plans by early spring in order for there to be drilling next summer.”

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued the revised environmental impact statement for Sale 193 after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit remanded the lease sale back to Interior for additional review after finding arbitrary and capricious the original estimate of 1 billion barrels of recoverable oil in area.

Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Statoil USA all hold leases in the Chukchi Sea obtained in Sale 193, which earned $2.7 billion for the federal treasury.

The court challenge of Sale 193 forced Shell, which has so far spent roughly $6 billion to explore and develop its oil and gas leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, to cancel its 2014 drilling season.

“Alaska’s offshore resources are one of our greatest opportunities to improve America’s energy security, create jobs, and keep the trans-Alaska oil pipeline operational,” Murkowski said.

Alaska’s Arctic offshore is estimated to contain 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.