Aleutians East Borough Is Disappointed that President Obama Has Cancelled Proposed Leases in North Aleutian Basin
Sand Point, AK – March 31, 2010 – Aleutians East Borough Mayor Stanley Mack said today he is disappointed that President Obama has announced that the North Aleutian Basin will be withdrawn from consideration for oil and gas lease sales. This morning, President Obama announced a policy that would allow new oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska. However, he said that proposed leases in the North Aleutian Basin would be cancelled.
“It’s unfortunate that Secretary Salazar chose to visit Dillingham last year. Dillingham is 200 miles away from the lease sale area,” said Mayor Mack. “I believe it would have been very beneficial for the Secretary to hear from the residents closest to the lease sale. They are almost all in favor of responsible gas and oil development. Citing the concerns of Dillingham residents about the North Aleutian Basin is like letting Boston residents determine what happens in New York.”
Nearly two dozen local government entities in the region are in favor of a lease sale in the North Aleutian Basin, with mitigation measures in place to protect the commercial fishing industry and the environment. Those favoring the lease sale include the Aleutians East Borough, the Bristol Bay Borough, the Lake and Peninsula Borough, the Nelson Lagoon Tribal Council and the Aleut Corporation.
If the lease sale had gone forward, development would have created 1,000 construction jobs during the first year and 5,000 construction jobs during Year Four. In addition, 400 operation jobs and 3,500 support jobs in local communities would have been created during the estimated 25-year lifetime of the platforms.
Other benefits would have included energy resources for the nation, a local source of fuel and energy, enhanced spill response in the busy shipping lanes of the North Aleutian region and enhanced search and rescue. Geologists believe the area is predominantly gas prone. The mean, conventionally recoverable resource amount is estimated to be 12.8 trillion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas. Oil is a secondary resource. The mean, conventionally recoverable resource amount is estimated to be 753 million barrels of oil.
Taxes derived from the lease sale would have been considerable: $546 million in Ad Valorem Tax could have been generated from a liquefied natural gas plant; $12 billion in federal income tax; $7 billion in royalties; and $850 million in state and local taxes.
“Our communities are shrinking. Some are dying,” said Aleutians East Borough Administrator Sharon Boyette. “We can’t let that trend go on. We will continue to work on economic opportunities in our region. We believe that Aleutian communities and the people who live in them are a vitally important part of the Aleutian environment.”The Aleutians East Borough is the municipal government encompassing the southwestern portion of the Alaska Peninsula and a number of the easternmost Aleutian Islands. It extends 300 miles along the eastern side of the Alaska Peninsula and includes the communities of Sand Point, Cold Bay, King Cove, False Pass, Akutan and Nelson Lagoon. For more information, visit http://www.aleutianseast.org/