U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today said ConocoPhillips' decision to postpone exploration in the Chukchi Sea because of federal regulatory uncertainty was disappointing but not unexpected.
"I'm disappointed that ConocoPhillips won't be moving forward with its Arctic program next year -- Alaska and the nation need the energy and the jobs that new oil production off Alaska's coast would bring -- but it's a decision that's not unexpected," Murkowski said. "Companies can't be expected to invest billions of dollars without some assurance that federal regulators are not going to change the rules on them almost continuously. The administration has created an unacceptable level of uncertainty when it comes to the rules for offshore exploration that must be fixed if we're going to end our dependence on oil from the Middle East."
ConocoPhillips on Wednesday announced it was putting its 2014 Chukchi Sea exploration plans on hold until there was a reliable and predictable regulatory framework at the federal level. ConocoPhillips has a stake in 98 leases in the Chukchi Sea.
Murkowski, as the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, holds both authorizing power and budgetary oversight of the Department of the Interior.