U.S. Senator Mark Begich reiterated his strong support for responsible oil and gas development in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) this week following a recent speech by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell where she asserted that ANWR "should remain off-limits to development."
In response to Sec. Jewell's speech to the National Press Club last week where she further indicated that the administration may take unilateral action to "protect" certain lands, Begich writes in a letter to Sec Jewell:
"It should be no surprise to you that I will fight any effort by the Obama Administration to make ANWR off limits. Doing so through imposition of the Antiquities Act would be strongly opposed by a majority of the residents of my state, and I believe by a majority of members of the U.S. Congress The energy resources projected to lie beneath ANWR could help meet this nation's energy needs and provide thousands of sorely needed jobs for residents of my state and other states.
"Alaska, long considered America's energy storehouse, is ready and willing to help by responsibly developing the billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas on our lands and shallow water off-shore
"Like you, Alaskans are strong conservationists, fiercely protective of our wild lands and waters and the wildlife thriving there. We are confident we can develop our state's energy resources while protecting these lands and waters for this and future generations."
Begich has aggressively opposed legislative efforts to lock up ANWR to drilling in both the 111th and 112th Congresses and will continue to oppose similar efforts in the 113th.
The full text of the letter is attached.
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