Murkowski welcomes increase in offshore oil and gas impact assistance for Alaska

Increase stems from legislation Murkowski helped co-author

Contact:  Michael Brumas at 202.224.9301 or Anne Johnson at 202.224.8069

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed news that Alaska’s share of Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas impact assistance is increasing more than 10-fold for 2009-2010.

Murkowski, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was one of several authors of a provision added to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that provided $250 million a year for four years to the five states that produce oil and gas and their associated revenues from leasing and production off their coasts.

As a result of the nearly $2.6 billion in revenues from this winter’s OCS Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193, Alaska’s share of funding is expected to rise to $29 million a year from $2.5 million the past two years. The lower amount was the result of the state’s current lone OCS production, from the Northstar oil field in the Beaufort Sea.

“While we continue our efforts to expand and extend OCS revenue sharing to help Alaska deal with the impacts of oil and gas exploration and development off our coasts, this 10-fold increase in state aid is a welcome boost. It should help Alaskans realize the benefits the state could gain in the future from offshore oil and gas production, if a more complete revenue sharing program is approved by Congress,” said Murkowski.

In the 2005 energy bill, a billion dollars was approved to be split among Alaska, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi, the only OCS producing states at the time. The money was to be allocated based on the amount of federal revenues generated from oil and gas production off of each state.

The announcement of the increase was made today in a joint federal-state ceremony held at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. Randall Luthi, the director of the Minerals Management Service, and State Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin met to discuss the revised allocations under the three-year-old federal program. The state had to craft an Alaska Coast Impact Assistance program to qualify to receive the federal funding, a plan that was successfully turned in earlier in the year.