Murkowski: Leasing Must Focus on Best Prospects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today responded to the Obama administration’s proposal to hold a lease sale in Cook Inlet as part of the 2012-2017 five-year plan.

“I appreciate the president’s newfound interest in increasing domestic production and his decision to offer leases in Cook Inlet. His interest would be most useful, however, if he focused on areas with the greatest resource potential.

“For the past six years, I have worked to advance exploration of Alaska’s northern waters, ever since leases were offered in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. And for the past six years, the companies that hold those leases have been denied the permits they need to proceed.

“Offering up leases is one thing, making sure companies receive the permits they need to develop those leases is quite another. The true test will be whether the administration allows the Arctic offshore program to proceed. This is the question we have repeatedly asked of this administration.”

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has introduced a number of bills to increase oil production from Alaska, including measures to allow drilling on a portion of the ANWR coastal plain and ensure that Alaska and other coastal states receive a fair share of the revenue from offshore development.