Sen. Murkowski: Alaska Must Have a Say in Federal Offshore Leasing Program

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, criticized the Obama administration’s lack of consultation with Alaska in developing its draft 2017-2022 outer continental shelf (OCS) oil and natural gas leasing program (DPP) for Alaska in comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

“The fact that the president’s moratorium withdrawing some 9.8 million acres of waters off Alaska’s coast, including the Hanna Shoal, identified in the draft program as a potential deferral, was released to the public the very same day as the DPP illustrates a willful disregard for the public process and undermines public trust in the process,” Murkowski wrote in her comments to BOEM.

Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, highlighted the importance of energy activities to Alaska, asked BOEM to consider additional lease sales in Alaska, and stressed the importance of consultation with Alaskans in the development of the final leasing program.

“It is incumbent on the Department of the Interior to restore balance and demonstrate to stakeholders that those interested in providing for family-supporting jobs, a robust revenue base for state and local governments, energy security, and the opportunity to sustain the vibrant traditional cultures in Alaska through responsible resource development have equal standing in the public process,” Murkowski wrote. “The Alaska OCS provides a critical opportunity for America and a robust leasing program is the first step toward a bright economic future for Alaska and the Nation.”

Sen. Murkowski’s full comments are available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.