U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (NGP Photo) office this morning released the following comment regarding a decision by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to allow Shell to conduct preparatory work in the Chukchi Sea this summer. “Today’s decision is a positive step that will allow Shell to begin necessary preparatory work, while maintaining the highest environmental standards to ensure the protection of the Arctic,” Murkowski said. “While we would all like to see a discovery this summer, the most important thing is for Shell to continue to make progress and demonstrate once again that Arctic drilling can be done safely.” Thursday’s BSEE announcement will allow Shell to build a mudline cellar and install pre-drilling infrastructure in the Chukchi Sea before the Coast Guard gives final approval of its containment vessel. “While many environmental activists continue to cast doubt on Arctic production, we know from experience that development can be carried out safely – more than 100 wells have been drilled in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas since the 1970s,” said Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The Arctic waters off Alaska’s northern coast contain an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the federal government. * NGP received another statement from U.S. Senator Mark Begich (NGP Photo) this afternoon. -dh "U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today released the following statement after Interior Sec. Ken Salazar announced a permit is being issued to Shell for limited preparatory activities in relation to the company’s exploration plan in the Chukchi Sea: ‘I am pleased to see the Interior Department recognizes the importance of moving ahead with exploratory drilling this summer. ‘Today’s decision shows flexibility while not sacrificing safety. This allows us to get one step closer to understanding and moving forward on the energy potential of the Arctic.’"
Calgary Herald, by James Wood. Finance Minister Doug Horner said even with ongoing price volatility, the government’s finances aren’t about to run off the rails.
Commentary: Yesterday we commended two Legislators for consistently defending Alaska’s constitution and natural resource economic base against federal overreach. Most recently, they urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a timely Record of Decision on the Point Thomson Project. Today, we note that DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan (NGP Photo) and North Slope Mayor Charlotte Brower dispatched a similar message, found in this letter, and released a memorandum of understanding encouraging inhanced collaboration between the State and Borough. Cheers for all. But the Point Thomson ball is still in the Feds’ court and we harbor no illusions that the Corps’ overlords will be more supportive now than in the past, in allowing just and reasonable adjudication of Alaska natural resource issues. -dh
Commentary (Note that we are always open to additions or corrections and rebuttals):
- Today the Alaska Dispatch continued what can be expected (based on its commentary over the last year) to grow into its own media blitz against reform of Alaska’s predatory oil and gas tax regime.
- Yesterday, the Alaska Dispatch provided a news report/commentary piece covering results of a Coastal Management Ballot Initiative that could have dealt a mortal blow to natural resource development in Alaska, and ultimately to the State’s economy. Below is our review of that piece: