Murkowski to Hopper Again: Keep Alaska Sales in Next OCS Plan

Senator Meets with BOEM Director to Make the Case for Offshore Leasing in Alaska

Anchorage, AK – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, yesterday strongly urged Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper to preserve all three lease sales proposed for Alaska when it finalizes its offshore program for the years 2017 through 2022. Murkowski’s request came during a face-to-face meeting yesterday afternoon in downtown Anchorage, as Hopper neared the end of a week touring Alaska.   

“I stressed to Director Hopper that Alaska must be allowed to develop its resources, especially in the Arctic,” Murkowski said. “Offshore development is one of the best ways we can create jobs, generate revenues for our state treasury, refill our Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and protect our nation’s long-term energy security. From our vast resource potential, to our long history of safe production, to overwhelming support from Alaskans, this administration has every reason to make the right decision and keep our lease sales in the offshore program.” 

BOEM included three lease sales in the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in its Proposed Program for 2017 through 2022: one in the Beaufort Sea in 2020, one in Cook Inlet in 2021, and one in the Chukchi Sea in 2022. While the sales are not area-wide or as frequent as the congressional delegation requested, BOEM cannot expand the scope of its offshore program as the planning process goes on. The agency is expected to release a Proposed Final Program this fall, which can be finalized after a 60-day congressional review period. 

Murkowski is a strong proponent of offshore development in Alaska’s Arctic and has redoubled her efforts to protect the lease sales proposed for Alaska in recent months:

  • In May, she led a congressional delegation letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell laying out the reasons why Alaska OCS development must be allowed to proceed.
  • As Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she convened an oversight hearing in May to examine Interior’s proposed program for offshore leasing. 
  • In June, Murkowski delivered the keynote address at a pro-development event held by the Arctic Energy Center in Washington, DC.
  • In July, Murkowski introduced S.3203, the Alaska Economic Development and Access to Resources Act, which adds two more sales in the Beaufort, Chukchi and Cook Inlet basins, each, and allows lease extensions for the months of the year when the department does not permit operators to work in those basins.
  • She has repeatedly met with senior Interior officials and often conveys the opinions of Alaskans, including this July piece by Sayers Tuzroyluk, Sr., to them by correspondence.  

In addition, Murkowski is a champion for offshore revenue sharing for Alaska. Under her leadership, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported S. 2011, the OPENS Act, for consideration by the full Senate. She is also the lead cosponsor of S. 3110, the American Energy and Conservation Act, which is expected to receive a vote on the Senate floor later this year.

Related Issues: Energy