Murkowski Provision to Return Authority for Arctic OCS to Interior
Language Addressing Years of Arctic Offshore Delays Included in Omnibus
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After months of negotiations, Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced a deal that would return authority over air emissions from offshore activity in the Arctic to the Interior Department via the 2012 Interior Appropriations Bill. Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, giving her authorizing and appropriating power over the Interior Department.
“This language is one of the most important steps Congress can take to ensure that responsible development is allowed to go forward in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas,” Murkowski said. “Transferring air quality authority from the EPA to Interior could place Alaska’s Arctic leases on a level playing field with the Gulf of Mexico and provide a level of predictability – without compromising environmental protections –for those companies willing to invest in the production of America’s energy.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently has jurisdiction to issue air quality permits on Alaska’s outer continental shelf. However, in the Gulf of Mexico the Interior Department administers air quality compliance. The language written by Murkowski provides regulatory parity for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas with the western and central Gulf of Mexico.