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Begich Disappointed Administration Still Not Addressing Arctic Drilling

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich issued the following statement in response to today's announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico is now lifted, permitting development to resume:

"Giving the green light to continued oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico is a positive sign for America's energy industry and for American energy consumers. This country imports far too much of our oil and gas from abroad while we have the technology to safely develop these resources at home and put thousands of Americans to work.

"Still, I'm frustrated the Secretary's announcement didn't mention Alaska, where clear guidelines about offshore development in our Arctic waters remain unsettled. Because of our short drilling season and the complexity of getting equipment in place, Alaska operators need certainty about what development they can do when.

"Shell's announcement last week to scale back exploratory plans in Alaska's outer continental shelf underscores the need for the federal government to provide clear directions now to energy companies operating here."

Senator Begich a month ago sent a letter to President Obama requesting that "reasonable timelines for responsibly developing the plentiful oil and gas resources in the OCS off Alaska's Arctic coasts" be provided within 60 days.

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