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Sen. Murkowski Blasts Corps’ Refusal to Reconsider NPR-A Permit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers March 17 for refusing to reconsider its denial of ConocoPhillips' permit to place fill for a bridges and road to the CD-5 drill pad in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A)

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell had earlier this month requested the Corps re-evaluate its decision on the permit. The Anchorage commander of the Corps denied the Governor's request.

"I'm disappointed that the Corps continues to ignore the will of the state and local Native community, and I believe, their own regulations by denying this request," Murkowski said. "The Corps is standing in the way of what would have been the first well drilled in the National Petroleum Reserve."

As part of its plan to develop satellites to its Alpine field, ConocoPhillips has worked tirelessly with the state of Alaska and local Native communities since 2003 to minimize potential impacts to local subsistence users and to reduce the potential for environmental impacts on the Coleville River Delta area. The development plan denied by the Corps was developed in concert with the residents of Nuiqsut to better facilitate local subsistence activities.

"For a dozen years, responsible oil and natural gas production has been going on in neighboring areas with a stellar record of environmental stewardship," Murkowski said. "The EPA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and, ultimately, the Army Corps of Engineers have now decided to quietly issue new designations and deny Americans the right to any benefit from the huge federal resources in this Congressionally-selected oil reserve."

The ConocoPhillips' project represents roughly 5 million barrels of domestic oil production a year, 400 construction jobs, 100 full-time operating jobs and infrastructure that would facilitate future exploration and development in NPR-A.

"Given our nation's dangerous reliance on foreign oil, this decision to restrict access to an area specifically set aside for energy development is simply irresponsible," Murkowski said.

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