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AEC Accuses White House of ‘Playing Politics’ with Ban on Arctic Development

'A bleak economic future for Alaska'


Lucas Frances


Washington D.C., December 20:  Earlier this afternoon the Obama Administration announced that it will ban offshore oil and gas development throughout much of the U.S. Arctic. Under the authority of an obscure provision in a 1953 law, the decision designates "the bulk of the Arctic” indefinitely off limits.


Commenting, Lucas Frances, Spokesperson for the Arctic Energy Center:

“This is a deeply frustrating development and one that will mean a bleak economic future for Alaska. After the White House cited a lack of industry interest in the Arctic for removing the region from the offshore leasing program, we then saw lease sales in the Beaufort Sea and North Slope which generated $18 million in revenue.


“The Arctic Energy Center’s research has shown that a significant majority of Native and Alaskan people support offshore energy development in the Arctic, in a large measure because of the essential role the industry plays n the region’s economy. By designating Arctic waters off limits for energy development, the President has prioritized environmental concerns over the well-being of the American people.”


AEC Survey Data

The results of the Arctic Energy Center’s opinion survey of Alaskan’s views on offshore Arctic energy development can be found here. They show that:


  • Alaskans overwhelmingly support offshore energy development in the Arctic, with more than three quarters (76%) supportive.  

  • Over two third (66%) believe that the opinion of local residents should matter most on the decision of whether to keep Arctic offshore acreage in the government’s five-year leasing plan (66%).

  • Among self-identified Native respondents, 72% support offshore resource development. 79% believe that local opinions should matter most.

  • A consistent two-thirds of Alaskans favor offshore development when questioned about the economic impact (68% support), national security implications (67% support), or environmental consequences (64% support).

  • Importantly, Alaskans want to keep all options open when it comes to the Arctic (64% support) rather than making decisions that will reduce the United States’ future choices.


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