Alaska Delegation Commends Milestone for Responsible Energy Development on the Coastal Plain

BLM Releases Draft EIS for Oil and Gas Leasing Program

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, Rep. Don Young, and Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy (all R-Alaska) today issued the following statements after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the oil and gas leasing program on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“One year ago, Congress directed the Department of the Interior to open the Coastal Plain for responsible energy development, and today marks a major step forward to making this a reality,” Murkowski said. “I appreciate the extensive time and attention the Department has dedicated to gather and consider feedback from all Alaskans, particularly the Inupiat and other stakeholders in the Alaska Native community. This input and cooperation will ensure we build a strong leasing program that helps us realize our tremendous energy potential without harming our environment or way of life.”

“I appreciate all the hard work and diligence the Department of Interior undertook to produce this draft Environmental Impact Statement in line with Congress’s statutory mandate from last year’s tax bill,” Sullivan said. “I am particularly pleased to see the serious and necessary considerations for the porcupine caribou that migrate through the region, as well as the abundant level of stakeholder input — including from the Alaska Natives in the area, the vast majority of whom support responsible drilling in the 1002. This Draft EIS brings us that much closer to unleashing America’s energy potential, filling up the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, boosting our economy, and providing good jobs for Alaskans, all while protecting the ecosystem in ANWR’s 1002 as we’ve done on the rest of Alaska’s North Slope for over 40 years.”

“I’ve fought for a long time to open the 1002 Area for oil and gas development, and this is a critical step toward reaching that goal. I want to thank Secretary Zinke and Assistant Secretary Balash for their hard work in producing this draft EIS, and look forward to continuing to work with DOI in 2019 to complete the assessment process,” Young said. “Opening the 1002 Area will allow Alaska to be a leader in energy development so we can continue the Trump Administration’s efforts to make our country energy independent.”

“This is a significant milestone in Alaska’s long journey to responsibly explore and develop the 1002 area in ANWR,” Dunleavy said. “The potential oil discovered will spur new jobs and investments for generations to come, extending the life of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.”

The draft EIS will be published in the Federal Register on December 28, opening a 45-day public comment period that will close on February 11, 2019. Public hearings will be held throughout Alaska and in Washington, DC. More information is available here.

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She authored the second title of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Congress passed exactly one year ago. The Act allows surface development of 2,000 federal acres of the non-wilderness Coastal Plain (0.01% of ANWR) for responsible energy development, which could bring an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil to market. New production from the 1002 Area will refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System while also creating high-paying jobs, generating billions of dollars in revenues for the state and federal treasuries, keeping energy prices affordable for families and businesses, and strengthening national energy security. 

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