Juneau-Wednesday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Resolution 6, weighing in on the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program. The current draft program calls for lease sales in 14 of the 15 planning areas in Alaska (there are a total of 26 planning areas across the country).
“With this resolution, the Alaska House joins Alaska’s entire Congressional delegation, the Governor, and a number of tribes and other stakeholders who have requested that 11 of the 14 planning areas be removed from the draft proposed plan,” said Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) “The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas planning areas have far and away the greatest estimated recoverable reserves for oil and gas, and while the Cook Inlet Planning Area has more modest potential, it is a critical source of affordable energy for Alaska’s most populous region. Lease sales in other areas are unlikely to attract significant interest, would create tremendous controversy, and would wastefully expend State and Federal money on lease sales which would not lead to development.”
HR 6 was successfully amended on the floor by Representative John Lincoln (D-Kotzebue) to further request that the existing deferrals in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas be continued in future lease sales.
“My district is home to the world’s most productive zinc mine, and one of the world’s preeminent oil fields,” said Rep. Lincoln “But we also rely on subsistence and have preserved our way of life by keeping it in the forefront of our minds whenever we pursue economic development. My amendment simply asks that we keep intact decades of work between industry and local communities identifying and protecting a crucial migratory corridor for Bowhead whales and two modest subsistence hunting areas adjacent to the whaling communities of Kaktovik and UtqiaÄ¡vik.”
Originally introduced by the House Rules Committee, Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham) was added as the resolution’s primary sponsor on the House floor at the request of Minority Whip Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) so that other members could add their names as co-sponsors.
“I am grateful that the House was able to move quickly and show overwhelming support for both economic development and respect for all stakeholders in that development,” said Speaker Edgmon, “I appreciate the Administration giving us the opportunity to speak to this issue, and hope they heed the combined voices of our Federal delegation, Governor, and State House.”
House Resolution 6 passed with strong bipartisan support, by a vote of 33-5. The resolution will be presented to Senator Murkowski after she makes her annual address to the Legislature on February 22nd.
Source: State of Alaska[xyz-ihs snippet=”Adsense-responsive”]