Offshore oil, gas lease plan leaves Alaska senators infuriated

Alaskan Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski are not happy with the U.S. Department of the Interior's release of a proposed five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing near Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
By The Bakken Magazine Staff | December 20, 2016

Alaskan Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski are not happy with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s release of a proposed five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing near Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The plan, created after receiving 3.3 million public comments, includes 11 potential oil and gas leases offshore, one of which is located near Alaska. Not included in the program were the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, two areas that Sullivan and Murkowski worked to get included in the lease offerings. 

“President Obama is well-aware that the vast majority of Alaskans want OCS development, and I’m infuriated that he has once again ignored our voices to side with factions who oppose it,” Murkowski said. 

Abigail Hopper, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said the plan was created through stakeholder engagement and the best available science. “The proposal makes available more than 70 percent of the economically recoverable resources, which is ample opportunity for oil and gas development to meet the nation’s energy needs,” she said. 

Earlier this year, DOI chose to take off the Atlantic as a possible location for offshore drilling. Areas off the Pacific coast are also not included in the 2017 to 2022 program, because, according to DOI, it is consistent with the long-standing position of the Pacific coast states in opposition to oil and gas development off their coasts.