Alaska Announces New Domestic Drilling Plan
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Big energy news was broken at today's press conference at the Chamber. Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (via teleconference) and Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources Dan Sullivan announced the state would allow drilling off a strip of state-owned land, expanding energy production:
It would allow the state to start allowing drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, up to three miles off the federally protected regions of ANWR and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, bypassing the need for federal permission.
While the state has no control over drilling in ANWR, it does own the three miles of Arctic Ocean just off the coast—after those three miles, the federal government owns the waters. Officials say it stands to reason that that three-mile ribbon likely cuts through the vast oil deposits believed to lie beneath ANWR and the Arctic Ocean. Alaskan officials and oil companies hope that by drilling in that strip, they can tap into up to a dozen giant oil pools that would otherwise be off-limits.
Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, who was also at the press conference, was happy with the news:
America is in serious need of more domestic energy production, but the federal government has thrown up nothing but roadblocks. According to government estimates, U.S. oil production will be down 90 million barrels in 2012—a direct result of the Obama Administration’s approach. With the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Administration has finally acknowledged that there is a need to increase supply. However, the Five Year Plan for oil and natural gas exploration they have proposed takes new areas off the table—which could make us even more reliant on foreign oil in the future.
Today, Governor Parnell and Commissioner Sullivan have announced a plan for Alaska that will start to change that equation. I applaud the State of Alaska for stepping up to the plate in a comprehensive effort to help deliver the energy that America needs.