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Sen. Murkowski Criticizes Administration’s Decision to Lock Up Millions of Acres of Petroleum Reserve

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following comment regarding the Obama administration’s decision to unilaterally ban oil and natural gas exploration in half of the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

“Today, The Obama administration picked the most restrictive management plan possible,” Murkowski said. “The environmentally sensitive Teshekpuk Lake area was already under a 10-year deferral for additional study, but this alternative goes vastly beyond that, putting half of the petroleum reserve off limits. This decision denies U.S. taxpayers both revenue and jobs at a time when our nation faces record debt and chronic unemployment.”

The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska’s legal purpose is to provide petroleum to the United States to ensure the nation’s energy security. It is not a wildlife refuge.

The Obama administration’s decision violates both the petroleum reserve’s authorizing statute and the law forbidding additional land withdrawals in Alaska without the express approval of Congress.

“Alaskans are not a people who need the federal government to protect them from themselves, particularly from a government that is unwilling or unable to clean up its own messes,” said Murkowski, citing the problem with the abandoned federal oil wells in the NPR-A about which she has repeatedly pressed the administration. “This decision endangers not only further exploration of the NPR-A, but also development of existing offshore leases in the Chukchi Sea.”

Below is the chart outlining the Interior Department’s four proposed alternative management plans for the NPR-A. Also, attached are Sen. Murkowski’s official comments on the proposed management plan during the public comment period.

Parameter

Alternative A

Alternative B

Alternative C

Alternative D

Lands for

Leasing 1,2

13 million ac (57%)

Current deferrals

11 million ac (48%)

Current deferrals

17.9 million ac (76%)

Current deferrals

22.8 million ac (100%)

Current deferrals

Special Areas

(4) – 8,300,000 ac

TLSA 1,750,000 ac

CRSA 2,440,000 ac

URSA 3,970,000 ac

KLSA 97,000 ac

 

(5) – 15,00,000 ac

TLSA 3,760,000 ac

CRSA 2,440,000 ac

URSA 7,060,000 ac

KLSA 364,000 ac

PBSA 1,600,000 ac

(5) – 9,000,000 ac

TLSA 1,870,000 ac

CRSA 2,440,000 ac

URSA 4,440,000 ac

KLSA 97,000 ac

PBSA 107,000 ac

(4) – 8,300,000 ac

TLSA 1,750,000 ac

CRSA 2,440,000 ac

URSA 3,970,000 ac

KLSA 97,000 ac

% NPR-A in Special Area

37%

67%

40%

37%

Wild & Scenic R

none

Wild (12):

Colville R,

Nigu R,

Etivluk R,

Ipnavik R,

Kuna R,

Killigwa R,

Nuka R,

Awuna R,

Kokolik R,

Utukok R,

Driftwater Cr, Carbon Cr

Scenic (3):

Colville R,

 

 

 

 

Killigwa R,

 

 

 

Utukok R,

none

Infrastructure Prohibition

none

11,600,000 ac

52%

???

none

 

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