WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today reacted to President Bush’s announcement that he will lift the executive ban on off-shore oil and gas exploration.

“I certainly welcome this move to open more waters of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas development. Because the congressional ban on leasing along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts remains in place, the President’s decision will not, by itself, open a floodgate of OCS development. But I hope Congress will pass legislation giving states the right to decide whether to allow oil and gas development off their shores in return for gaining substantive federal revenue sharing funds. States that face costs from allowing development off their shores – such as Alaska -- are entitled to revenues to offset those costs.


“Given estimates that 18 billion barrels of oil and 77.9 trillion cubic feet of gas lie under current OCS moratoria areas, opening up more of the OCS could nearly double the nation’s proven reserves of oil. Offshore oil drilling technology and techniques have improved dramatically over the past four decades. But clearly states still have concerns about protecting uniquely sensitive waters whether it is the Everglades in Florida or Bristol Bay in Alaska. A state opt-in process with revenue sharing is an equitable way to help the nation acquire more energy, while still giving states control over development off their coastlines.”