Salazar, Hayes Visit Alaska to Discuss Arctic Energy and Conservation Issues with Local Communities
09/03/2010- ANCHORAGE, AK - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes today are completing their trip to Alaska where they have spent several days meeting with local communities, representatives of Alaska Native organizations, stakeholders, and energy industry officials to discuss energy and conservation issues on Alaska's North Slope.
"Alaska's energy resources are vital to our nation's economy and to the State's future, but we must be thoughtful and responsible in developing those resources so that we protect Alaska's fisheries, wildlife, and remarkable beauty for generations to come," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "In the Arctic, we must continue to be guided by caution, science, and the voices of North Slope communities, including Alaska Natives, as we chart a wise path forward."
"The people of the North Slope have seen dramatic shifts that climate change and other human-related impacts are having on the Arctic's landscape and wildlife," said Hayes. "It is vital that we hear from those who have lived on this land for generations, so that their experiences, their observations, and their hopes for the future can help guide our nation's decisions in the Arctic."
Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes began their three-day visit in Prudhoe Bay on Wednesday. The Administration officials received updates on Prudhoe Bay development before taking an aerial tour of the Beaufort Sea coast to observe current and proposed oil and gas production sites, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA), and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
On Thursday, Secretary Salazar received updates from the Alyeska Pipeline Company on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Conoco-Philips on the company's CD-5 project in the NPRA, and Shell on its proposed exploration projects in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
Following the briefings, Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes traveled to Barrow, where they held a town hall meeting with North Slope leaders and stakeholders, including North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta, leaders of the Native Village of Barrow, Inupiat Community leaders, and representatives from the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes then joined Mayor Itta for a tour of Barrow.
Today, Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes are in Anchorage where they held additional meetings with Department of the Interior employees and with the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Both Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes continue to receive regular briefings regarding Thursday's incident on Mariner Energy's Vermillion 380 platform in the Gulf of Mexico.