Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on onshore oil and gas development in Alaska. Panel members highlighted the many benefits for Alaska and the Lower 48 if the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) were opened for responsible exploration and development.

Energy development in the State of Alaska is a key component of achieving American energy independence. Enabling new opportunities for exploration and development, especially in the NPR-A and in ANWR, will create thousands of good jobs [and] generate billions in revenue for the state of Alaska and the federal government,” Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said.

Despite decreased production in Alaska and low oil prices, the industry continues to be the largest source of revenue to the state. For Alaska Natives like Richard Glenn, Executive Vice President for Lands and Natural Resources of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, related revenues “have provided for substantial gains in economic self-determination.”

Exploration and development of ANWR will not take place unless Congress acts,” Glenn stated. But while we’re thinking about it, if you’re going to look at the National Petroleum Reserve and consider multiple uses, for example, it’s not just a ‘gas tank’ but also hosts valuable habitat, then why don’t we consider the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the same light? That is, it’s not just a wildlife refuge that should remain off limits, but also can host important exploration of the native owned lands that exist there.”

People of the slope support this development,” Chairman Emeritus Don Young (R-AK) stated. “We can have our subsistence and we can have an economy as the North Slope has done.”

Gary Dixon, Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 959 Alaskasaid “it’s not all about the jobs the industry provides on the North Slope, it’s also about the indirect jobs it creates to the Alaska economy and to other states in the lower 48.”

“It would lessen the burden of importing more oil for the U.S. It would help the Trans-Alaska Pipeline with its throughput problems,” Dixon added.

Vice President of External Affairs and Transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska Scott Jepsen discussed how industry innovation has allowed them to “successfully produce oil and gas with minimal environmental impact” and, despite misleading characterizations, an ever-shrinking operational footprint.

Many in Congress are under the misguided notion that onshore Arctic development somehow harms the fish, wildlife and waterfowl resources there,” Glenn said. No matter how many images we provide of caribou, ducks, fish, and even polar bears unharmed and undisturbed in close proximity, sometimes even directly on, over, or under oilfield infrastructure.”

In order for Alaska’s onshore oil and gas production to flourish, steps must be taken to create more certainty in the permitting process and increase access to federal land.

From a regulatory point of view, the state of Alaska has implemented relatively efficient processes. Our key permitting challenge has been working with the federal government, whose regulatory framework has been less well defined,” Jepsen stated.

Click here to view full witness testimony.

Senator Lisa Murkowski. Photo by Dave Harbour, Northern Gas Pipelines.

Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell 
Announce Upcoming Committee Schedule 


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today announced the hearing schedule for next week. The full committee hearings will examine the status and outlook for U.S. and North American energy and resource security and consider various nominees for the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior. The subcommittee hearing will receive testimony for several bills on various memorials and park-related issues. More information on these hearings can be found at the links below or by visiting the committee’swebsite.


  • Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. EDT – Full committee hearing to examine the status and outlook for U.S. and North American energy and resource security.


  • Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. EDT – Subcommittee on National Parks’ legislative hearing to receive testimony on the following bills:


    • S. 257, the Acadia National Park Boundary Clarification Act;
    • S. 312, the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park Redesignation Act;
    • S. 355, the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act of 2017;
    • S. 391, the African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum and Educational Center Act;
    • S. 841, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum Act;
    • S. 926, the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act;
    • S. 1073, the Escambia County Land Conveyance Act;
    • S. 1202, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Boundary Modification Act;
    • S. 1403, the 21st Century Conservation Corps Act of 2017;
    • S. 1438, a bill to redesignate the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in the State of Missouri as the “Gateway Arch National Park”;
    • S. 1459, a bill to establish Fort Sumter and Fort Multrie National Park in the State of South Carolina, and for other purposes; and
    • S. 1522, a bill to establish an Every Kid Outdoors program, and for other purposes.
  • Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. EDT – Full committee hearing to consider the following nominations:


    • Ms. Brenda Burman of Arizona to be Commissioner of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior;


    • Ms. Susan Combs of Texas to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Policy, Management and Budget);


    • Mr. Paul Dabbar of New York to be Under Secretary for Science of the Department of Energy;


    • Mr. Douglas W. Domenech of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior (Insular Affairs);


    • Mr. David Jonas of Pennsylvania to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy; and


    • Mr. Mark Wesley Menezes of Virginia to be Under Secretary of the Department of Energy. 

The full and subcommittee hearings will be held in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee room, Dirksen 366, and will be webcast live on the committee’s website. For all of the hearings, witness testimony will be available online immediately before the start time.