U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today issued the following comment on the introduction of anti-Alaska legislation that would permanently ban oil and natural gas development in the non-wilderness portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
"I cannot understand how, given Alaska's decades of responsible energy development, this is still viewed as a good idea or a necessary action," Murkowski said. "At a time when our nation clearly needs more jobs, more revenues, and more domestic energy, this bill defiantly ignores all three."
As the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Murkowski has been a strong advocate for developing the energy potential in the non-wilderness portion of ANWR.
In 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, which designated the coastal plain of ANWR for oil and gas exploration. Despite promising information from exploratory drilling and seismic data, the federal government has kept the area off limits to responsible development.
The coastal plain holds America's greatest potential for a major oil and natural gas discovery. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are between 5.7 billion and 16 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil in ANWR, with a mean estimate of 10.4 billion barrels. Polls have repeatedly shown that the vast majority of Alaskans support development in the area.
The Congressional Research Service estimates federal revenues from producing the oil resources in ANWR could total $153 billion, assuming the mean resource level and with oil prices at an average of $100 per barrel.