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U.S. Interior Secretary Fails to Address Legacy Wells

(ANCHORAGE) – Today Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage issued the following statement on U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision to lock up about half of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska from future oil and gas exploration.

“This illustrates how poorly the administration in Washington D.C. understands what is needed to get the national economic recovery back on track and create good paying jobs,” said Rep. Millett. “Meanwhile, Alaskans are still waiting for the Interior Department to formulate an aggressive cleanup plan for the Legacy Wells, wells Secretary Salazar and his bureaucracy are responsible for cleaning up.”

The 23.5 million acres in NPR-A were deliberately set aside for oil and gas exploration and is a key component to increasing oil production in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

The Legacy Wells pose an immediate threat to wildlife and groundwater. The Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the Interior Department, is capping and cleaning the wells at the rate of maybe one or two per year. Nearly a hundred well sites remain to be capped and remediated more than 30 years after the federal government’s drilling program stopped.

Representative Millett sponsored a resolution (HJR 29) urging BLM to draft an aggressive cleanup plan before more environmental damage can occur. It passed unanimously in both the house and senate.

Legacy Wells were the subject of a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing last month. Representative Millett traveled to Washington D.C. to testify to before the committee about the wells and the resolution.

A copy of the resolution and photos of the Legacy Wells are included with this news release.

For more information, please contact Representative Millett at (907) 269-0222. 

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