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Murkowski: MMS Approval of Shell’s Chukchi Exploration Plan a Positive Sign

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Dec. 7 welcomed the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service's conditional approval of Shell Oil's plan to drill up to three exploratory wells off the northwest coast of Alaska in the Chukchi Sea.

"This is progress," Murkowski said. "Today's announcement from the MMS is an encouraging sign that Alaska's oil and natural gas resources can continue to play a major role in America's energy security."

"While this represents a step forward, significant hurdles remain before exploration can advance in the Chukchi," Murkowski said. 

Shell Oil is in its fourth year of waiting for air permits to conduct exploratory activities off Alaska's coast from the Environmental Protection Agency. Without those permits, exploration cannot move forward.

"I congratulate the Department of the Interior for seeking a careful balance of the environmental and energy security needs of the nation in coming to this decision," Murkowski said. "I will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that this balanced approach continues."

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