US Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alas.), strongly urged US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Abigail Ross Hopper to preserve all three oil and gas lease sales proposed for Alaska when BOEM finalizes its 2017-22 US Outer Continental Shelf program. The senator’s request came during an Aug. 12 face-to-face meeting in downtown Anchorage, as Hopper neared the end of a week-long Alaska tour.
“I stressed to Director Hopper that Alaska must be allowed to develop its resources, especially in the Arctic,” Murkowski said. “Offshore development is one of the best ways we can create jobs, generate revenues for our state treasury, refill our Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and protect our nation’s long-term energy security.”
She said, “From our vast resource potential, to our long history of safe production, to overwhelming support from Alaskans, this administration has every reason to make the right decision and keep our lease sales in the offshore program.” Murkowski chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
BOEM is expected this fall to release a proposed final program, which can be made final after a 60-day congressional review period. BOEM included three Alaska sales in its 2017-22 proposed program: one in the Beaufort Sea in 2020, one in Cook Inlet in 2021, and one in the Chukchi Sea in 2022.
While the sales are not area-wide or as frequent as Alaska’s congressional delegation requested, BOEM cannot expand the scope of its offshore program as the planning process goes on. Murkowski convened an oversight hearing in May to examine DOI’s proposed federal offshore leasing program.
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