U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today released the following statement after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the management plan decision for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) is a modified version of Alternative B:
"I am very concerned about this choice by the Department of the Interior. The new preferred alternative still seems to close off several options for building a pipeline across the NPR-A.
"If the DOI is leaving Kasegaluk Lagoon near Wainwright a special protected area, where many people assume a pipeline will come ashore, what additional conditions are going to have to be met and how feasible is it to get a pipeline in there? The same is true if the pipeline has to cross over a new protected area to the west of Alpine.
"We've known since the beginning that a pipeline across the NPR-A is a critical piece of the puzzle for successful Arctic development. I was pleased by Secretary Salazar's statement that the United States cannot be left behind in the Arctic. However, today's decision creates many more questions than answers about how we are going to get billions of barrels of oil from the Chukchi Sea into TAPS.
"I urge Secretary Salazar and the DOI to bring all the parties involved together immediately to answers these questions and find a true path forward for this much-needed pipeline."