Murkowski Touts Jobs, Debt Reduction during House ANWR Hearing

“We shouldn’t be discussing whether to develop ANWR’s 1002 area’s oilfield; we should be discussing when and how to develop this national resource.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today expressed her frustration over the Obama administration’s repeated attempts to lock up lands in Alaska by designating them as wilderness to prevent resource development. Murkowski made her comments Wednesday in testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources during an oversight hearing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“Here we are with the federal government essentially broke – fighting all day, every day over every spending cut and revenue-raiser ever conceived, when the simple delivery on a decades old promise could render literally hundreds of billions in federal revenue without so much as raising a tax or cutting a single program,” Murkowski said. “But instead of looking for a responsible path towards accessing our resources, the Fish and Wildlife Service looks for ways to lock it up.”

The promise Murkowski is referring to is the one made by President Carter when signing the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. He stated, “100 percent of [Alaska’s] offshore areas and 95 percent of the potentially productive [onshore] oil and mineral areas will be available for exploration or for drilling.” Currently, less than one percent of federal lands onshore and none of the federal offshore lands are producing any oil or natural gas.

“Increasing production will result in job creation all over the country.  It will require oil-field monitoring software from companies in California, new trucks from Michigan, and goods and services from everywhere in between,” Murkowski said. “Every state will benefit, and the federal treasury will benefit the most.”

The non-wilderness coastal plain of ANWR has a mean-estimated 10.3 billion barrels of oil. To put that in perspective, the United States imports about 2 billion barrels of oil a year from OPEC nations and is expected to import 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from all sources this year, according to the Energy Department.