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Rep. Gardner: Cook Inlet Gas Permit Bottleneck Is Unacceptable

Today, Representative Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) questioned whether Southcentral energy supplies would be delayed due to a lack of permitting capacity in federal agencies in charge of issuing Cook Inlet oil and gas permits. Citing Apache Corp.’s recent decision to suspend its Cook Inlet exploration due to delayed federal permits, Rep. Gardner called on Alaska’s congressional delegation to work with federal agencies to review whether staffing in the Kenai offices of these agencies needs to be increased to keep up with the resurgence of energy exploration in Cook Inlet.

“We need the energy. We have the resources, and there’s tremendous interest in developing it,” said Rep. Gardner.  “But if they can’t process the permits in time, Alaska loses out.”

Rep. Gardner sent a letter to Alaska’s congressional delegation asking for their help working with the federal agencies to “ensure the [Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service] develop an efficient federal permitting process” and to “review of whether staffing in the Kenai offices of these agencies needs to be increased to fulfill our state and federal energy goals.”

In the letter, Rep. Gardner expresses her concern that permitting delays will impact Alaska’s ability to use its own resources to meet local energy needs:

“As a member of the House Resources Committee of the Alaska State Legislature, I have worked hard with legislators of both parties to encourage oil and gas development in the Cook Inlet region.  Southcentral Alaska residents are facing many severe energy challenges, and as you are aware, projects that would alleviate our energy problems take years of lead time.  The longer permits are delayed, the further we remain from energy solutions.”

Read Rep. Gardner’s letter here: http://akdemocrats.org/gardner/092712_letter_congress_re_apache.pdf

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