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Morning Headlamp - Alaskan Lawmakers Sound off on Obama Administration's Arctic Decision

'The president betrayed Alaskans'


Published:

A bone to pick. Following yesterday's announcement from the Obama Administration that 125 million acres of the Arctic Ocean will be indefinitely closed to offshore drilling, Alaskan lawmakers responded in kind. According to Governor Bill Walker, "This unprecedented move marginalizes the voices of those who call the Arctic home and have asked for responsible resource development to lower the cost of energy to heat houses and businesses…To lock it up against any further exploration or development activity is akin to saying that the voices of activists who live in Lower 48 cities have a greater stake than those to whom the Arctic is our front yard and our back yard."

 

To recap, President Obama used the authority granted to the president by the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Land Act, to "withdraw" all of the Chukchi Sea and the majority of the Beaufort Sea from future oil and gas leasing.

 

Alaskan Senator and industry-ally Sen. Lisa Murkowski also released a statement on the decision. "President Obama is well-aware that the vast majority of Alaskans want OCS development, and I'm infuriated that he has once again ignored our voices to side with factions who oppose it," Murkowski said. 

 

"Make no mistake — the president betrayed Alaskans today — especially those living in the Arctic — who were not consulted, and instead gave one final Christmas gift to coastal environmental elites," said Sen. Dan Sullivan, the third Republican in the delegation.

 

"Hell-bent on locking away our resources and suffocating our already weakened economy, President Obama is one step closer to solidifying his place next to Jimmy Carter as Alaska's worst nightmare," Alaska's Republican Congressman Don Young said in a statement.

 

As Headlamp has previously opined, this politically-driven decision only appeases aforementioned "Lower 48 activists." Alaskan communities and the tens of thousands of Alaskan households that will actually be affected by this decision, eagerly await an administration that understands the Arctic's importance for the state and the Nation.

 

In other news. Earlier this week, analysts from the Department of Revenue released their semi-annual revenue sources book. The book includes predictions for the price of oil for the next few years, how much the state is going to produce, what kind of money the state expects to have available to spend and, this year, a whole chapter on the potential impacts of an income or sales tax. According to the report, oil prices are predicted to go up. During this fiscal year, the state predicts they'll average $46.81 a barrel. And that's expected to go up to $54 per barrel next year.

 

One thing that caught our attention in this year's revenue sources book was the projected level of oil production in fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Headlamp believes these production forecasts are a bit low. Our readers can rest assured that we will be keeping a close watch on actual production numbers. This is an important issue for all Alaskans as it determines the size of our deficit and the need for new revenue.

 

First Reads

Obama prohibits offshore oil drilling in most U.S. Arctic waters
Alaska Dispatch News, Erica Martinson, December 20, 2016

Offshore oil, gas lease plan leaves Alaska senators infuriated
Bakken Magazine, December 20, 2016

Revenue department forecasts jump in oil prices, drop in production
Alaska Public Radio News, Rashah McChesney, December 20, 2016

Growth in domestic natural gas production leads to development of LNG export terminals
Hellenic Shipping News, Erica Martinson, December 20, 2016

AK Headlamp
A project of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance
3301 C Street
Anchorage, AK 99503

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