Begich to BLM: Your DC Solutions Don’t Work in Alaska: The Agency, not Alaska, must pay for cleanup of old wells
U.S. Senator Mark Begich today reinforced his stance that he will not tolerate Bureau of Land Management plans to use Alaska state revenues to pay for National Petroleum Reserve Alaska (NPR-A) legacy well clean-up as proposed in President Obama’s current budget plan.
“There is no way that Alaska is picking up the bill for the NPR-A legacy wells,” said Begich after meeting with Bud Cribley, BLM’s Alaska region director. "To me, this budget proposal cooked up in Washington is just a gimmick and I told them as much.”
Today’s meeting, which included other top BLM officials from Alaska, was scheduled as an opportunity for BLM to brief Sen. Begich on their new plan to address the issue of legacy wells—exploratory wells drilled by the federal government which were left unplugged or partially plugged.
Drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) by private sector companies was also a main topic of discussion. Begich pressed BLM to create the NPR-A working group as soon as possible. The working group entity was announced when BLM released their NPR-A Plan earlier this year and is intended to ensure that the people of the region have a voice the development of the NPR-A.
“It is critical to get regional input on the plan so that BLM can develop a more aggressive leasing program,” said Begich. “Along with many Alaska Native leaders on the North Slope, I strongly disagreed with the NPR-A plan released earlier this year because it restricted some of the best areas for oil and gas development.”