Democratic Legislators Welcome Federal Support for NPR-A Development
Access across the Coleville into NPR-A is “good for Alaska”
Today, Democratic Representatives Les Gara (Anchorage) and Bob Miller (Fairbanks) released the following statements welcoming comments by the U.S. Department of the Interior in support of new leases in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) and of allowing ConocoPhillips to move forward with its plans to build a bridge across the Coleville River to access the area.
“I’m encouraged to have a federal agency supporting our efforts to push development in NPR-A, and I hope to see Conoco’s bridge move forward soon,” said Rep. Gara. “We need the oil development and Conoco has said they’re ready to go.”
“These announcements from the Interior Department are certainly welcome,” said Rep. Miller. “The bridge and leases will open a lot of possibilities for new development in the area, which is good for Alaska.”
Ned Farquhar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior told attendees at the Energy Council meeting in Anchorage today that the Interior Department feels that a bridge across the Coleville River into NPR-A can be built safely, in an environmentally responsible way and is the best option for accessing the area. He also announced the Interior Department’s intention to offer more new leases in the NPR-A in coming years.
On March 2 of this year, fourteen Alaska Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to federal officials calling on them to resolve permit issues that are delaying ConocoPhillips’ efforts to build a bridge to a new oil field in the NPR-A. Last year, the Army Corps of Engineers rejected Conoco’s permit application to build the bridge across the Coleville River that the company needs to access the new field just west of its Alpine oil field, the third largest in Alaska.
The March letter went to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.