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Begich Urges President to Stay Focused on Oil, Natural Gas

Letter asks Obama to reconsider repeal of tax incentives for producers

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today urged President Barack Obama to stay focused on the need to increase domestic energy production as America transitions to alternative energy sources. Begich sent a letter to the president after Obama today told a White House media briefing that America’s energy future is a combination of old and new approaches including, “can we identify opportunities to increase our oil and natural gas production in a way that is environmentally sustainable? And that should be part of a package with our development of clean energy.”

“I wanted to capitalize on your comments to underscore three issues vital to meeting America’s energy needs: support for an Alaska natural gas pipeline project, increase offshore energy development and reasonable federal tax policy to encourage more domestic energy production,” Sen. Begich writes.

Begich’s letter highlights the Alaska natural gas pipeline as the single project which can have the greatest positive impact on meeting America’s energy needs and stimulate the economy at a time when it is sorely needed.

“I know your administration already is strongly supportive of this project and I commend your appointment of a new federal coordinator of the Alaska natural gas pipeline project,” Begich added. “I urge your support for provisions in the Senate energy bill to underscore the importance of this project to America’s energy independence.”

Increased production from America’s outer continental shelf (OCS) is vital, Begich added. For Alaska, where we know how to responsibly develop and produce oil and gas in extreme conditions, OCS development is necessary to the long-term health of the current Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline which currently carries 16 percent of the U.S. domestic oil production, Begich writes.

On a final note, Begich urged the president to reconsider provisions in the Fiscal 2011 budget which repeal key tax incentives for independent, American-owned oil and gas producers, such as intangible drilling costs and percentage depletion.

“These important incentives have been part of our tax code for decades, and their repeal threatens American jobs and domestic energy production at a time when we need them both,” Begich concluded.

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