Anchorage OCS Hearing to Focus on Energy Production

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the announcement that U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will gather public comment on oil and gas leasing off the coast of Alaska at a meeting in Anchorage next month.
“I’m grateful Secretary Salazar is coming to hear from Alaskans firsthand about the importance of oil and gas production off our coastline,” Murkowski said.
Salazar will hold a public meeting on energy development on the outer continental shelf at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage on April 14. The forum is one of four public meetings the Department of the Interior is convening next month to gather comments on offshore energy development in federal waters.
Murkowski, who invited Salazar to visit Alaska during his confirmation process, said she hopes to attend the hearing.
Salazar last month announced that the Interior Department would extend until September 21, the comment period on the five-year offshore drilling plan released by the previous administration.
Murkowski said she welcomed the opportunity for Alaskans to weigh in on whether additional areas off Alaska’s coast should be leased for energy production. However, she reminded the Obama Administration of its commitment to support some new offshore production to improve the nation’s energy security.
“I urge President Obama to keep his word for outer continental shelf production to be part of the larger energy plan we need to create jobs, restore our economy and ensure our energy security,” Murkowski said.
Salazar’s decision to further review the existing five year plan could impact lease sales scheduled for the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, Cook Inlet and the North Aleutian Basin.
“Responsible development of the OCS is key to improving our energy security and reviving our economy,” Murkowski said.
“What we need is a balanced energy policy – one that incorporates more domestic production of both conventional and renewable energy sources, along with strong environmental safeguards,” Murkowski said. “If we legislate wisely, we can use our fossil fuel resources to create jobs now and fund research into sustainable low-carbon energy for the future.”  
Murkowski, who tore two ligaments and cartilage in her left knee on Sunday while skiing at Alyeska Ski Resort, said her ability to attend the April 14 meeting will depend on the timing of surgery to repair her knee. Members of Murkowski’s staff on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be at the meeting.
Anyone interested in offshore development is welcomed and encouraged to attend the all-day hearing. Comments may be submitted in writing at www.MMS.gov, “Five Year Program,” “How to Comment,” or by mail to Ms. Renee Orr, Chief, Leasing Division, Mineral Management Service, MS 4010, 381 Elden Street, Herndon, VA 20170-4817. The Department of the Interior will also provide video conferencing of the hearing over the Internet. Instructions on how to access the video conference will be announced prior to the meeting.