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Johnson Urges Feds to Include Alaska in Next 5-year OCS Leasing Program


Resources Chair encourages MMS, Dept. of Interior not to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach

Tuesday, June 29, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – House Resources Committee Co-Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, today wrote a letter urging the U.S. Department of the Interior strongly encouraging the agency to carefully consider the “potential ramifications of a decision to continue the temporary moratorium on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) exploration and production activity.”

Interior and the Minerals Management Service, or MMS, are currently undertaking a preliminary Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Process ahead of the next five-year leasing program for 2012-2017.

Johnson writes that Alaska can play a vital role in shaping the country’s energy future, but that “will only occur if federal regulatory policy maintains the proper balance between allowing responsible resource development and ensuring environmental protection.”

Alaska’s OCS contains some of the country’s last large, untapped reserves, with the potential for 27 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. A federal judge recently overturned the Obama Administration’s moratorium order for the Gulf Coast, but that order does not affect the rest of the U.S.

“A ‘one size fits all’ approach to OCS regulation is no more appropriate that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to offshore drilling,” Johnson writes. “Without a doubt, as decades of experience in Cook Inlet has demonstrated, current technology exists to safely explore Alaska’s vast OCS potential reserves.”

“Alaska can, and should, play a major role in satisfying U.S. oil supply demands, allowing us to rely less on foreign imports,” Johnson said. “We have a track record of responsible offshore stewardship, and it’s a message the folks in Washington need to hear: ‘Alaska is not the GulfAlaska is not California. We have a history and ability to produce responsibly and safely.”

Johnson’s letter is addressed to J. F. Bennett, the MMS Environmental Assessment Chief.
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