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Lawmakers Call on Federal Government to Clean Up Legacy Wells in Northern Alaska


(JUNEAU) – With a unified voice the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 29, calling on the federal Bureau of Land Management to fulfill its mission of protecting public land by plugging and remediating more than a hundred oil wells in northern Alaska. 

“Enough is enough. It’s time for this national disgrace to come to an end” Said Rep. Millett. “BLM needs to live up to its mission statement by cleaning up the mess it left behind. This goes way beyond our borders because all Americans should be outraged that this environmental crime has been allowed to go on this long.”

Legacy Wells were drilled between 1944 and 1982 by the federal government in an attempt to locate commercial quantities of oil and natural gas. Only a handful of the 136 wells have been plugged and cleaned up by State of Alaska standards.

The wells pose significant risk to ground water, vegetation, land and sea mammals and fish. The sites are covered with trash that scars the natural beauty of Northern Alaska.

“What should really irritate Alaskans is how the federal government throws up roadblocks to resource development on federal land under the guise of protecting the environment. The current administration needs to put its money where its mouth is and clean up the sites immediately,” said Rep. Millett.

Fines totaling $8 billion would be levied if a private petroleum exploration company were responsible for these wells, not to mention the condemnation from the news media, the environmental community and the public.  

Senator Lisa Murkowski grilled U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this week about the Legacy Wells at a meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Click on the links below to view the video clips.


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