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Parnell Joins Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition

May 2, 2011, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell has joined a coalition of coastal state governors who want to begin a new dialogue with the federal government on offshore energy issues. The new group, the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, includes Parnell and the governors of Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and Mississippi. Today, in a letter, Parnell and other governors invited other U.S. coastal states to join the coalition.

The governors said in the letter they support policies that “encourage an American energy expansion with all forms of energy production – both onshore and offshore.”

Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan joined Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and natural resource commissioners from Texas, Louisiana and Virginia in Houston today for a panel discussion about offshore energy development in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Barbour, Sullivan and the other commissioners announced the creation of the coalition during the 2 p.m. (CT) panel discussion, hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance at Houston’s Offshore Technology Conference.

Governor Parnell said today that he joined the coalition because “developing Alaska’s offshore resources is vital for Alaska’s future and for the nation’s economic and national security interests.”

According to the coalition’s letter on Monday, federal decisions regarding exploration and production require consultation from affected states.

“In recent months, however, the federal government has taken sweeping actions regarding offshore oil and gas activities with little consultation with the states. Unfortunately, many of these federal actions have been in conflict with our states’ and citizens interests,” the letter stated.

During the conference panel, Sullivan underscored “the critical role that Alaska can and should play in addressing America’s energy security challenges.” But, he said, “We need a partner in the federal government. Right now we have a federal administration that has been proactively shutting down resource development in Alaska. This policy hurts Alaska and Alaskans and undermines broader national security and energy security interests.”

Sullivan also noted that the federal government’s policies harm global environmental protection. “Alaska is one of the most environmentally stringent places on earth to explore for and produce oil. When responsible resource development is shut down in Alaska, exploration and drilling activities are driven to countries that have lax environmental standards, harming the global environment.”

A copy of the letter is available at:

http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell_media/resources_files/05022011ocsgovscoalitioninvite.pdf

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