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Legislature Passes Resolution Urging Congress to Open Up ANWR to Oil & Gas Development

JUNEAU-Today, the Alaska State Legislature unanimously passed Senate Joint Resolution 3, sponsored by Senator Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, urging the United States Congress to open a portion Alaska’s coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration and development.

“President Obama has argued that it is in the national interest to become less dependent on foreign sources for energy and it is certainly in Alaska’s interest to have that energy produced in our state,” said Senator Micciche.  “But words are just words until they become action.  Opening ANWR would replace the president’s words with action and certainly help facilitate his desire that the U.S. become independent from those most often not friends of our country or our way of life.”

On top of the message sent by previous legislatures, current and past governors, and past and present members of Alaska’s congressional delegation to Washington, DC, SJR3 also adds some new provisions to reflect Alaska’s current reality.    

“One of the things we added was pointing out the benefit of the current pipeline construction activities underway to link Point Thomson to TAPS, which places ANWR production significantly closer to the pipeline,” said Senator Micciche.  “We also eliminated language specifying the amount of land to be opened up.  It’s a change reflecting federal energy legislation to open ANWR introduced in the U.S. Senate recently, which is an exciting development for Alaskans as well as all Americans.”

Senator Micciche also noted oil and gas related activity in the Arctic has resulted in a significantly smaller footprint on the lands that Alaskans cherish.  Oil and gas activities will be monitored to ensure traditional lands and wildlife populations remain pristine and productive.

“Many folks in the lower 48 fail to realize that Alaskans are not asking to develop all of ANWR.   We are asking for the right to contribute to America’s energy security by responsibly developing a miniscule portion of the refuge,” said Senator Micciche.  “For example, ANWR is approximately the size of South Carolina.  The proposed environmentally conscious, on-shore area of ANWR development is a small fraction of that.”

SJR3 also further resolves the need to respect and recognize the rights of native land owners in ANWR. 

“The area that we want to open contains private land that is effectively locked up by the ANILCA bill that created ANWR’s current shape,” said Senator Micciche.   “So far in the ANWR debate, private property rights have been ignored.  SJR3 seeks to protect the rights of these landowners.”

SJR3 will now be filed by the Senate Secretary and Lieutenant Governor.

For more information, please contact Mindy Rowland in Senator Micciche’s office at (907) 465-2828.

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