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Begich Statement on Interior Release of Shell’s 60-Day Report


Pleased Administration Remains Committed to Arctic Development

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich issued the following statement today in response to the Department of Interior’s release of a high-level review of Shell’s 2012 offshore drilling program in the Arctic Ocean:

"Today's report is a reminder of the important checks and balances we have in place to ensure responsible development in the Arctic. While I remain disappointed that Shell will not resume exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas this summer, this report reinforces the fact that Alaska can and will develop our OCS resources safely and responsibly. 

I was pleased to hear of the administration’s ongoing commitment to Arctic development, combined with a thorough look at the lessons learned from 2012 and an understanding that the Arctic requires a unique approach.  This is welcome news as Shell continues to invest in science and data collection this summer and ConocoPhillips gathers permits for the summer of 2014.  We must continue on this path to secure our nation's energy future. 

The Administration also stressed the importance of the Interagency Working Group when it comes to coordinating federal oil and gas permitting agencies in Alaska. This is a concept I have long supported and advocated for and I am confident that having this working group in place will continue to help spur progress in developing the Arctic.”  

Sen. Begich has been a vocal supporter of OCS drilling and has repeatedly pressed the Obama administration to expedite the permitting process.  As a result, Shell Oil became the first producer in 20 years to initiate drilling operations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska’s northern coast.  Senator Begich also introduced S. 843, the Outer Continental Shelf Permit Processing Coordination Act, in April 2011.  Begich’s bill offered a similar interagency group which the Administration modeled the current working group after.

A copy of the full report can be found here.

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