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Governor Issues Statement on ANWR Plan Denial

July 26, 2013, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today expressed his dissatisfaction after learning the Regional Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had rejected the State’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) Section 1002(e) Exploration Plan.

“I am disappointed – the federal government chose to rely on an inaccurate interpretation of ANILCA,” Governor Parnell said. “The Interior Department’s own legal opinion confirms our position: There is no expiration date set by the plain language of the statute for 1002(e) exploration. Obtaining accurate and complete scientific information from ANWR is a top priority for Alaska and a necessity for our country. In fact, it is a mandate of ANILCA. Federal law provides clear direction that the Interior Secretary must take certain actions upon the submission of a section 1002(e) exploration plan. The State will request the National Director of the USFWS to reconsider this decision.”

Earlier this month the State provided a plan to the Secretary of the Interior to perform 3-D seismic testing in ANWR to better understand the probable quantity and quality of hydrocarbons beneath the surface of the coastal plain, or 1002 Area, of ANWR. The State’s detailed plan included all of the information required by statute as well as the existing USFWS regulations for exploration in the 1002 Area. 3-D seismic data would be vastly superior to the 2-D seismic data that was gathered in the 1980s and is the only raw data on the 1002 Area’s hydrocarbon resources that is currently available. 

The State’s plan also calls for the use of modern technology that is able to gather seismic data with extremely limited impact on the surface. 

“It is unfortunate that the USFWS failed to consider all of the technological advancements and new information detailed in the State’s plan,” Governor Parnell said. “Instead of doing any new work or review, they relied exclusively on a political memo prepared more than ten years ago.”

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