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ANCHORAGE– Governor Bill Walker Thursday heralded the announcement by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke to provide for greater state and local input in North Slope oil and gas development.
“Today’s announcement marks a bright, new chapter in Alaska’s history,” Governor Walker said. “Thanks to Secretary Zinke’s leadership, we are ushering in an era of unprecedented federal-state partnership to develop Alaska’s resources. This order allows for greater state input as Alaskans continue our strong record of safe and responsible oil and gas development. I applaud Secretary Zinke for removing the obstacles so that Alaska can play a greater role in securing the nation’s energy dominance.”
Secretary Zinke’s order updates the assessment of the North Slope oil and gas resource basin in calling for the development of a revised plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and the Section 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
“The federal agencies have been relying on outdated assessments, stale data, and restrictive planning, so today’s Secretarial Order is welcome news,” said Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Andy Mack. “The DNR team looks forward to working closely with North Slope leaders and DOI to achieve a better understanding of the tremendous potential that lies in NPR-A and the 1002 region of ANWR. We are excited about this new partnership to continue responsible development and production to fill the trans-Alaska pipeline system.”
In 2013, DOI approved regulations which placed over 11 million acres of the NPR-A – including coastal areas with a high potential for development – into special conservation areas despite input from state officials and local communities. The decision essentially prevented any exploration or development in those areas, and greatly impeded the state’s ability to develop infrastructure – such as roads for area communities, or new pipelines. Secretary Zinke’s decision directs DOI to review and revise those regulations in consultation with the state and other affected community leaders.
Source: State of Alaska