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Begich Statement on Suspension of Arctic Exploratory Drilling

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich released the following statement after learning the Obama Administration will announce tomorrow consideration of any applications for exploratory drilling in the Arctic is suspended until 2011:

“I am frustrated that this decision by the Obama Administration to halt offshore development for a year will cause more delays and higher costs for domestic oil and gas production to meet the nation’s energy needs.

“The Gulf of Mexico tragedy has highlighted the need for much stronger oversight and accountability of oil companies working offshore, but Shell has updated its plans at the administration’s request and made significant investments to address the concerns raised by the Gulf spill. They make an effective case that we can safely explore for oil and gas this summer in the Arctic.

“Another year of delay costs money and Alaska jobs.  The nation also has to export more dollars and import more oil from some unfriendly places, jeopardizing our economic and national security.

“I still believe we can responsibly develop oil and gas resources in the Arctic. Over the next year, I’ll work with Senator Murkowski and Secretary Salazar, as well as the Alaska operators, to ensure we’re ready to go as soon as possible.”

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