Alaska Dispatch: Murkowski to address Arctic leaders

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is scheduled to speak Thursday, March 18, before a broad group involved in Arctic issues. Her staff said the address will be posted to YouTube.

Alaska's senior senator, Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Energy committee. She's to speak to the standing committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region, a group of legislators and non-governmental organizations from around the Arctic. Her topic is the Alaskan perspective on offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic.

Offshore areas hold tremendous oil and natural gas reserves, and companies like Shell are anxious to tap in. However, regulatory woes and environmental concerns have held plans up, and residents of some Arctic communities remain concerned that offshore drilling could disturb sea mammals they rely on for food.

Oil from offshore developments is seen as a potential rescue for Alaska, where North Slope fields like Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk are past peak production. That has people concerned, as oil flowing through the big pipeline drops to around 650,000 barrels per day this year. At its peak in the late 1980s, about two million barrels flowed south.

Most of the oil eyed by companies is in federal off-shore areas. Alaska and other states with off-shore holdings are hoping to reach an agreement with the feds that would give states a portion of the government's tax take in those areas.

Alaska looks to oil for about 90 percent of state revenue.

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Source: By Rena Delbridge. Originally posted by the Alaska Dispatch on March 17, 2010