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DNR Commissioner Shares Alaska’s Role in Meeting U.S. Energy Needs

(Anchorage, AK) – Alaska remains one of the world’s greatest storehouses for oil and gas but it needs federal cooperation to reverse the declining flow of oil through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), according to testimony delivered to Congress by Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan on Wednesday morning.


Speaking on behalf of Governor Sean Parnell, Sullivan joined the Alaska Congressional delegation and other Alaskans who testified to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Sullivan described TAPS as one of America’s most critical energy infrastructure assets, linking domestic energy markets to Alaska’s Arctic, which is estimated to hold 40 billion barrels of oil and 236 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, as well as billions of barrels of undeveloped heavy, viscous and shale oil. The Parnell Administration seeks to boost TAPS oil throughput to one million barrels per day in a decade and welcomes support for this goal from Congress and the Obama Administration, Sullivan said in his testimony.

Sullivan offered seven specific examples of how the Obama Administration has delayed or created new barriers for Alaska oil and gas development projects that could lead to new domestic energy production and create jobs. Two examples he gave involve offshore oil exploration in the Beaufort Sea and proposed drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. “Rarely has there been a federal policy that fails on so many fronts,” he said.

Yet there are opportunities for the federal government and Alaska to work together, Sullivan said. For example, Governor Parnell this week sent a letter to President Barack Obama endorsing the president’s goal to reduce foreign oil imports by one third by 2025.

In the letter to Obama, Parnell sought the president’s support for the state’s goal to increase TAPS throughput to one million barrels per day. “By working together to champion such a goal, we can demonstrate how state and federal governments can come together to curb our dependence on foreign oil and create a brighter, more secure future for Americans,” Sullivan said in his written testimony.

The Subcommittee is reviewing draft national legislation to reduce uncertainty and eliminate delays involving U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air permits for offshore oil production in Alaska. Sullivan and other Alaskans were invited to Wednesday’s hearing to provide their perspectives.

To read Sullivan’s written testimony provided to the Subcommittee, visit this URL. http://dnr.alaska.gov/commis/testimony.pdf

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