Juneau, Alaska (KINY) A Senate Committee has increased momentum for new oil and gas exploration in Alaska.
U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker today issued the following statements after the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources released budget reconciliation legislation to open a small part of the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), known as the “1002 Area” or Coastal Plain, to responsible oil and gas development. “This legislation is a tremendous opportunity for both Alaska and our country,” Murkowski said. “The legislation I released tonight will put us on a path toward greater prosperity by creating jobs, keeping energy affordable for families and businesses, generating new wealth, and strengthening our security—while reducing the federal deficit not just by $1 billion over ten years, but tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars over the decades to come.”
Senator Sullivan said it took leadership to move this project forward, “I’d like to thank Senator Murkowski for her leadership on this very important issue for Alaska and for our country,” Sullivan said. “For years, military and civilian leaders—Democrats and Republicans—have emphasized the importance of energy security for our national security. History has also shown us time and again that energy can be used as a force for good, productive diplomacy and also for troublesome power-grabs by our nation’s foes. I have no doubt that this legislation, which would lead to producing more energy responsibly by opening up the small section of the 1002 area in ANWR, will help make the United States the world’s energy super power again, will dramatically increase our country’s national security and lead to American jobs and productive diplomacy around the globe.”
Congressman Young said this is something Alaska has worked for a long time,“For over forty years, Alaskans have led the fight to safely and responsibly unlock the 1002’s vast energy resources,” Young said. “Today is an important step in that process, one that ultimately works to create new jobs and opportunities for our people, generate new revenue and wealth, and strengthen the economic outlook of Alaska and the nation. Alaskans have proven, through tried and tested methods on our North Slope, that resource development and wildlife protection are not and should not be considered mutually exclusive. Although the House is solely responsible for producing a tax-related measure at this stage in the reconciliation process, I feel confident in our delegation’s efforts – under Senator Murkowski’s leadership on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee – to ensure Alaska’s true energy potential can serve a major role in America becoming energy dominant. As this effort moves forward, I am committed to protecting Alaska’s interests in any and all future negotiations.”
Governor Bill Walker, on a trade mission to China, said he also supported this legislation, “When Alaska became a state, we had a promise from the federal government in our statehood compact: we need to live off the resources in our land. Much like midwestern states harvest the resources that grow on the ground, like wheat and corn, Alaska must harvest the resources in our ground,” Walker said. “I thank Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan, and Congressman Young for their tireless work on behalf of Alaska, and our ability to responsibly develop a small portion the 1002 Area.”
The reconciliation legislation released tonight will raise nearly $1.1 billion over the next 10 years alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Between royalties and federal income taxes, it will raise substantially greater revenues once production from the 1002 Area begins. In addition to refilling the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, responsible development will help restore growth to Alaska’s economy and provide funding that could support education, healthcare, and infrastructure initiatives across the state. The revenues from development will also substantially reduce state and national deficits.