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State, North Slope leaders testify on access to federal lands

(Anchorage, AK) – Officials from the state of Alaska, the North Slope Borough and the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. testified in front of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources today on matters relating to access to federal lands in Alaska, particularly the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as the 1002 Area.

Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower, and ASRC Executive Vice President for Lands & Natural Resources Richard Glenn testified on H.R. 1964, the “National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Access Act,” which would require annual oil and gas lease sales in the NPR-A. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Washington, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources. The federal government’s responsibility regarding the cleanup of legacy wells in the NPR-A was also discussed during today’s hearing.

The state of Alaska fully supports H.R. 1964, Sullivan said in his testimony, which emphasized three key themes: that the NPR-A and the 1002 Area have enormous resource potential and are part of one of the most prolific and productive energy basins in North America; that federal law emphasizes the importance of assessing these areas for potential hydrocarbon development; and that the federal government is selectively disregarding those laws and the concerns of the state of Alaska by significantly limiting access to these lands.

Sullivan also took the opportunity to advocate for Congress to adopt the state’s recently-announced Oil and Gas Resource Evaluation & Exploration Proposal for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 1002 Area. 

“This hearing showed Congressional leaders that the state and North Slope communities are working together on responsible resource development. It was satisfying to see Chairman Hastings and Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, take a particular interest in the state’s recent exploration proposal, redoing the federal management plan for the NPR-A, and addressing the federal government’s responsibility to clean up the legacy wells,” Sullivan said.

To read testimony from the hearing, go to http://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=333896.

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