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Senate Passes Resolution Urging Congress to Open Up ANWR to Oil & Gas Development

JUNEAU-Today, the Alaska State Senate unanimously passed a resolution urging the United States Congress to open Alaska’s coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas exploration and development.  Senate Joint Resolution 3, sponsored by Senator Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, echoes the message sent by previous legislatures, current and past governors, and past and present members of Alaska’s congressional delegation to Washington, DC.  

However, SJR3, does have two new sections to reflect Alaska’s current reality.  

“One of the things we added was pointing out the benefit of the current pipeline construction activities underway to link Point Thomson to TAPS, which places ANWR production significantly closer to the pipeline,” said Senator Micciche.  “We also eliminated language specifying the amount of land to be opened up.  It’s a change reflecting federal energy legislation to open ANWR introduced in the U.S. Senate this week, which is an exciting development for Alaskans as well as all Americans.”

During his Senate floor speech, Senator Micciche quoted President Barack Obama as saying, “America’s dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced.  It bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism.  It puts American people at the mercy of shifting gas prices, stifles innovation, and sets back our ability to compete.” 

“We agree with President Obama that it is in the national interest to become less dependent on foreign sources for energy and it is certainly in Alaska’s interest to have that energy produced in our state,” said Senator Micciche.  “Words are just words until they become action.  Opening ANWR would replace the president’s words with action and certainly help facilitate his desire that the U.S. become independent from those most often not friends of our country or our way of life.”

Senator Micciche also noted oil and gas related activity in the Arctic has resulted in a significantly smaller footprint on the lands that Alaskans cherish.  Oil and gas activities will be monitored to ensure traditional lands and wildlife populations remain pristine and productive.

“Many folks in the lower 48 fail to realize that Alaskans are not asking to develop all of ANWR.   We are asking for the right to contribute to America’s energy security by responsibly developing a miniscule portion of the refuge,” said Senator Micciche.  “For example, ANWR is approximately the size of South Carolina.  The proposed environmentally conscious, on-shore area of ANWR development is one-fifth the size of Washington, DC’s Dulles International Airport.”

The passage of SJR3 will allow members of the Legislature who will be attending Energy Council next week in Washington, DC to have this resolution in hand as they promote responsible resource development to members of Congress.

For more information, please contact Mindy Rowland in Senator Micciche’s office at (907) 465-2828.

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