Murkowski Responds to Salazar's ANWR Comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following response to comments by Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the feasibility of using directional drilling to access the oil and natural gas reserves beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Salazar told reporters that he’s not convinced that directional drilling could be accomplished without impairing the ecological values of ANWR.
Murkowski said she was disappointed to hear Salazar’s comments less than a month before he is scheduled to visit the state and hear firsthand Alaskans support for finding a compromise on ANWR.
“I realize ANWR has become an icon to both sides of this debate, where ideological stands too often replace analytical analysis,” Murkowski said. “I have trouble, though, understanding how a proposal with no surface presence can impair ecological values?”
Murkowski introduced legislation last month that would allow subsurface drilling from state-owned lands and waters to reach oil and gas deposits in the western edge of ANWR.
The Department of the Interior estimates that within 8 miles (the reach of current directional drilling technology) of the western edge of ANWR there is at least 1.23 billion barrels of oil and substantial amounts of natural gas. As the technology improves, more of ANWR’s resource potential could be realized.