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Interior Nominee Affirms Support for Continued Arctic Oil and Gas Exploration

Commits to Coming to Alaska in Near Future During Meeting with Senator Begich

During a meeting today with U.S. Sen. Mark Begich to discuss her confirmation, Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell voiced her support for continued Arctic exploration with the right rules in place.  She also committed to coming to Alaska as soon as possible to talk to Alaskans about key issues like oil and gas development and subsistence.

“I am glad Ms. Jewell understands the great potential for our state and nation from Arctic oil and gas development,” Begich said.  “We all agree development must take place in a safe and responsible manner.  With the amount of resources in Alaska’s Arctic, the question is no longer if development will take place, the question is how.”

Sen.  Begich appreciates Jewell’s past work in Alaska but pressed her to come to Alaska as soon as possible to listen to Alaskans. 

“Unfortunately we have two recent examples where the Interior Department just ignored Alaska’s needs on critical decisions,” Begich said.  “Ms. Jewell needs to come to Alaska and really spend time with Alaskans so she understands our values.”

Jewell said she has some familiarity with issues facing Alaska Natives through her work as a banker, including visiting Kotzebue’s Red Dog Mine. Begich urged her to closely monitor federal subsistence management on federal lands in Alaska and to commit to regular and meaningful consultation with Alaska tribes.

Begich also pressed Jewell on issues including the federal government’s delayed conveyance of land to the State of Alaska and on the proposed road from King Cove to Cold Bay through the Izembek Wildlife Refuge. Begich urged her to continue the one-stop-shop process set up by current Secretary Ken Salazar to expedite Alaska oil and gas development and to personally pay closer attention to subsistence management on federal lands in Alaska.

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