Murkowski Comments on Interior’s Decision for Offshore Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, released the following statement today in response to the Obama administration’s decision on offshore energy exploration:

“I am pleased and relieved that Alaska’s offshore leases are being honored, but I strongly believe that the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Atlantic and Pacific, should be open to exploration,” Murkowski said.

“These areas represent some of the most abundant oil and gas resources available for domestic production in the Lower 48,” Murkowski said. “Restricting their development will only further stunt our economic recovery.”

In today’s announcement, the Department of Interior (DOI) announced that Alaska’s offshore oil and gas leases would be allowed to proceed toward exploration pending permit review. DOI also announced that no lease sales would be scheduled for the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, or Pacific during the upcoming 2012-2017 Five Year planning period.

“Oil is this country’s largest source of energy and it will continue to play a vital role in our energy security for decades to come. The more we can produce domestically, the better it is for our economy, for our national security and for our environment.”

“It’s time for a rational approach to our nation’s energy policy,” Murkowski said. “I believe we can have both a thriving economy based, in part, on resource development and a healthy environment. You need look no further than Alaska for a perfect example of that philosophy in practice.”