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Democrats Applaud Army Corps Pt. Thomson Permit

Today, Representative Les Gara and Senator Hollis French applauded the Army Corps of Engineers for granting the necessary permits for ExxonMobil to begin the long-awaited development of the Pt. Thomson Unit on Alaska’s North Slope. Earlier this month, Rep. Gara and Sen. French wrote a letter to the Army Corps encouraging its prompt action on this permit.

“Alaskans have waited over 30 years for development of these resources, and now work should begin this winter,” said Rep. Gara. “After the Corps delayed its decision earlier this fall, we encouraged them to stick to their deadlines and they did. Pt. Thomson development means more oil in TAPS and more jobs for Alaskans.”

The Army Corps, which is authorized under the Clean Water Act to oversee permits for development on wetlands, has been considering permits for Point Thomson since 2009.  It had set an initial deadline of September 21 of this year to complete its work then later pushed that deadline back to November 21. 

“I commend the Corps for completing these permits. Getting them in hand keeps us from losing another construction season on the Slope,” said Sen. French. “Point Thomson holds hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and over 8 trillion cubic feet of gas. It’s time to move this project forward.”

The legislators noted that state permitting is also necessary to the project and encouraged both the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to ensure their work was also complete in time for the winter construction season.  DNR has public hearings on the project scheduled this month, and Senator French and Representative Gara expect the department to prioritize this project so as to also issue its permits by November 30.

To read the legislators’ prior letters on this issue, please click here.

For more information, please contact Cindy Smith in Senator French’s office at (907) 465-3892 or Rose Foley in Representative Gara’s office at (907) 269-0106.

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