Governor Parnell Opposes Additional Review of OCS Exploration
July 27, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - Concerned about the potential for substantial delays in offshore oil and natural gas development, Governor Sean Parnell today expressed his opposition to the proposed creation of an Arctic Regional Citizens' Advisory Council (ARCAC). The advisory council would create another layer of review and oversight of the development of Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
The ARCAC amendment, drafted by Senator Mark Begich, was introduced in the Senate Commerce Committee today. Begich and his staff did not consult with the state administration as the amendment was being prepared.
"We already have a rigorous regulatory framework in place for OCS development at the federal, state and local levels," Governor Parnell said. "While I support environmentally safe exploration of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and while I always value input from Alaskans, I am concerned that the creation of this council will add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and create even more delays for oil and gas explorers and producers."
Governor Parnell also expressed his concerns that the council could create unnecessary expense for the government and the oil and gas industry.
Unlike the Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet regional advisory councils, whose members are appointed by the governor, members of the ARCAC would be appointed by the federal government. The geographic scope of the ARCAC is unclear and could encompass state-owned waters and submerged lands. Since there is no savings clause that clarifies the relationship between state and federal law, as there is for the Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound RCACs, there is the danger that the Begich bill might be interpreted as pre-empting applicable state law.