Sen. Murkowski urges BOEM to keep Alaska in next OCS plan

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski last week urged Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director, Abigail Ross Hopper, to preserve all three lease sales proposed for Alaska when it finalizes its offshore program for the years 2017 through 2022.

Murkowski’s request came during a face-to-face meeting on Friday afternoon in Anchorage, as Hopper neared the end of a week tour of Alaska.

The senator said: “I stressed to Director Hopper that Alaska must be allowed to develop its resources, especially in the Arctic.

“Offshore development is one of the best ways we can create jobs, generate revenues for our state treasury, refill our Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and protect our nation’s long-term energy security. From our vast resource potential to our long history of safe production, to overwhelming support from Alaskans, this administration has every reason to make the right decision and keep our lease sales in the offshore program.”

BOEM included three lease sales in the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in its Proposed Program for 2017 – 2022: one in the Beaufort Sea in 2020, one in Cook Inlet in 2021, and one in the Chukchi Sea in 2022. The agency is expected to release a Proposed Final Program this fall, which can be finalized after a 60-day congressional review period.

Murkowski is a strong proponent of offshore development in Alaska’s Arctic and is trying to protect the lease sales proposed for Alaska. In May, she led a congressional delegation letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell laying out the reasons why Alaska OCS development must be allowed to proceed.

Also, in July, she introduced the Alaska Economic Development and Access to Resources Act, which adds two more sales in the Beaufort, Chukchi and Cook Inlet basins, each, and allows lease extensions for the months of the year when the department does not permit operators to work in those basins.