Governor Dismayed by Court Ruling on Off-Shore Drilling
Governor Sarah Palin today objected to a court ruling that undermines the federal leasing program for oil and gas reserves in the Beaufort, Bering and Chukchi seas.
The finding by a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., in a lawsuit brought by environmentalists against the Interior Department during the Bush administration, comes just three days after Alaskans had an unprecedented opportunity to voice their opinions on off-shore drilling in a hearing before Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
"We are adamant in our support for responsible off-shore development," Governor Palin said. "As I told Secretary Salazar on Tuesday, even a stepped-up effort toward energy conservation will not avert the need for increased production of conventional fuel sources as our population grows. The resources in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea, especially, are critical for what should be a dramatic increase in domestic natural gas and a modest increase in domestic oil production.
"Unfortunately, while we have been struggling to persuade the Obama administration not to undo the opportunities for off-shore drilling, an appeals court has stepped in at the bidding of short-sighted environmentalists and pre-empted the federal-state dialogue," the governor said.
"Ironically, putting the brakes on domestic energy production does not prevent global warming or threats to species, but actually increases the problem by shifting resource extraction to less environmentally preferred fuels and locations."
Alaska is second only to the entire Gulf of Mexico in petroleum potential. According to the USGS, Arctic Alaska's recoverable resources are approximately 36 billion barrels of oil and natural gas liquids and 221 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.