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Murkowski Comments on BOEM Release of Shell Exploration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) conditional approval of Shell’s exploration plan for Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, which requires Shell to stop drilling 38 days before ice forms around the drill site. BOEM has set Sept. 24 as the final day Shell can drill in the Chukchi next year.

“Some of the conditions attached to this decision seem to be a response to newspaper ads, rather than founded in science,” Murkowski said. “This arbitrarily curtails an already a very short drilling season, unnecessarily putting the project at risk.”

Shell, which spent $2.1 billion on leases in the Chukchi Sea in 2008, has applied to drill up to six exploratory wells in the Chukchi beginning in the 2012 drilling season.

Shell still must obtain approval of its oil spill response plan before it can begin exploratory drilling as well as permits from multiple federal agencies.

“Alaska’s offshore resources represent our greatest potential to get America’s economy moving again,” Murkowski said. “As the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard has testified, the homework is done and we are ready and waiting to move forward with safe and responsible exploration of Alaska’s huge energy resources.”

The Arctic Ocean waters off Alaska’s northern coast contain some 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to federal estimates.

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