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Sen. Begich Statement on MMS Decision to Approve Leases in Beaufort Se

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich issued the following statement Oct. 19 after learning the Department of Interior Minerals Management Service (MMS) has approved, with conditions, th eShell Offshore Inc. Exploration Plan to explore two leases in the Beaufort Sea:

"I am pleased to hear that the MMS has approved Shell's Exploration Plan for the Beaufort Sea. Alaska has long been America's energy storehouse and this positive development demonstrates that our state's role in helping meet the nation's energy needs will continue.

"This decision shows Secretary Salazar and the Obama Administration recognize the importance of Alaska's abundant offshore oil and gas resources, and it brings us one step closer to environmentally-responsible development offshore of Alaska. They are getting the balance right: including safeguards for important subsistence resources and allowing drilling to go forward."

"This is also a positive sign for potential development in the Chukchi Sea. I will continue to work with Secretary Salazar and my colleagues in the Senate to move forward on additional leases and secure revenue sharing for Alaska."

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