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Murkowski: ANWR Resources Should Benefit All Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today blasted efforts in the Senate to permanently lock up valuable energy resources in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

"Attempts to lock up America's energy resources are misguided, and this particular one is not legal," Murkowski said. "The coastal plain of ANWR holds valuable oil and natural gas reserves that are vital to our nation's energy security, which is why Congress designated it for oil exploration and included language in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act to ensure no further ‘wilderness’ designations in Alaska. Instead of trying to lock up our resources, we should be developing them as part of a balanced energy plan that creates jobs and bolsters the sluggish economy."

Murkowski, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is committed to promoting the responsible development of Alaska's oil and gas reserves without disturbing the unique characteristics of the 1002 area.

"We've seen proposals to lock up ANWR before and they all share a total disregard for our nation's energy security and economic responsibilities," Murkowski said. "When a small area in Alaska holds the promise of being able to produce a million barrels of oil a day, it's irresponsible to suggest permanently barring access to that resource. Such efforts are in total conflict with our shared goals of energy independence, national debt control

and job creation."

Murkowski introduced legislation earlier this Congress that would allow access to the coastal plain's energy resources through the use of underground directional drilling from state-owned lands to the west of the refuge and state waters from the north, creating jobs and bolstering America's energy security. The legislation seeks to find a compromise with those groups concerned with preserving the 1.5 million acre coastal plain

while recognizing the need to improve our energy security and economy by meeting more of our energy needs with domestic production.

Development of the coastal plain could create as many as 700,000 new high-paying jobs and provide badly needed federal revenue  hundreds of billions of dollars in royalties, lease payments and corporate taxes – to reduce the deficit and pay for renewable and alternative energy programs.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the ANWR coastal plain contains between 10 billion and 16 billion barrels of oil, and 8.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas making it the largest undeveloped onshore oil deposit in North America.

“ANWR’s energy resources belong to the American people. They have a right to the jobs and royalties those resources could provide,” Murkowski said. “The letter from my Senate colleagues offers no alternatives to ANWR’s resources, only more of the same old arguments about why America’s resources should never be developed.”

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