Murkowski Highlights Benefits of Alaska Resource Production
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, held a field hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in Fairbanks to examine opportunities to create jobs and strengthen national security by increasing Alaska’s resource production. The field hearing was held on Monday at the Pipeline Training Center and featured testimony from stakeholders in Alaska’s oil, gas, mineral, and economic development sectors.
“Alaska has what virtually no one else has: tens of billions of barrels of oil, hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, a massive supply of coal, and countless deposits of hard rock minerals. If we can harness them, we can supply them to the rest of our nation to sustain our growth, our competitiveness, and our security,” Murkowski said. “Our hardest task is not finding those resources, or developing the know-how or recruiting the manpower needed to responsibly produce them. Instead, it is overcoming the restrictions imposed by our own federal government, which fails to understand why Alaska must be allowed to explore and develop.”
At peak production in 1988, Alaska oil comprised 25 percent of U.S. production. In 2015, Alaska production comprised slightly over five percent of U.S production despite the state’s vast oil resources, which are mostly in federal areas or beneath federal waters. The decline in Alaska oil production represents how federal policies have hurt domestic resource production.
Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, convened Monday’s field hearing seeking input from three panels of witnesses on what steps should be taken at the federal level to unleash the potential of Alaska’s vast natural resources.
“Tens of millions of acres of our lands and waters have been unilaterally withdrawn in recent years, against our strongest objections and, in my view, in violation of the law,” Murkowski said. “This is a critical moment for resource production in Alaska. We have to raise our voices, and highlight the hypocrisy we see in efforts to lock down our lands, while at the same time demonstrating how well we care for the environment as we develop our natural resources.”
The hearing featured a total of 12 witnesses: Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Joe Marushack, ConocoPhillips Alaska; Richard Glenn, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation; Michelle Anderson, Ahtna, Inc.; Bronk Jorgensen, Fortymile Miner’s Association; Lorali Simon, Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc.; Bill Jeffress, SRK Consulting; JP Tangen, Attorney at Law; Vince Beltrami, Alaska AFL-CIO; Kevin Pomeroy, 942 Laborers; Chad Hutchinson, Alaska Pipeline Training Center; and Lisa Herbert, Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.
Archived video and witness testimony from Monday’s field hearing is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.