Murkowski Comments on the Future of Arctic Exploration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following comments regarding the future of oil and gas development in the Arctic following a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission’s final report:

“The United States is an Arctic nation because of Alaska. We cannot ignore the fact that Russia will drill in the Chukchi Sea in coming years and that Canada is already exploring the Beaufort Sea. Alaska cannot be forced to sit in the middle of this activity – bearing all the same risk but none of the reward – while our pipeline runs dry and our jobs disappear.

“While I support increased funding for research, I do not accept it as an excuse to cancel existing leases in the Arctic or to put off future lease sales indefinitely. The companies involved in exploration off Alaska’s northern coast are committed to the highest safety standards and have gone above and beyond to demonstrate their ability to respond to any situation.

“The commission’s report clearly states that the need for ongoing research in the Arctic should not be used as an excuse to permanently delay exploration. Oil and natural gas will continue to be a vital part of our nation’s energy supply for decades to come and it is my honest belief that as much of that energy as possible should be safely produced here at home for the good of our economy, our security and our environment.”

Murkowski, the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, asked her colleagues to join her in a threefold pledge regarding offshore drilling: that no victim of a spill should ever go uncompensated, that taxpayers should never be on the hook for a company’s damages, and that these priorities are managed in a way that not only preserves, but also promotes a competitive domestic offshore industry.