White House Releases Arctic Plan. Sen. Murkowski Calls for Action, Not Words

The White House yesterday released the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The Administration solicited input from Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska, Congress, academia, industry and others to develop an Implementation Plan that sets forth the guidelines for Federal Departments and Agencies to execute the National Strategy for the Arctic Region.

White House Passes Arctic Plan. Sen. Murkowski Calls for Action, Not Words


The Implementation Plan complements and builds upon existing initiatives by Federal, State, local, and tribal authorities, the private sector, and international partners, and also focuses efforts where opportunities exist and action is most needed.

“It is designed to meet the reality of a changing Arctic environment and uphold our interests in safety and security, protect the environment, and work with international partners to pursue our global objective of combating the effects of climate change as described in the President’s Climate Action Plan,” reads the press release issued by the White House.

While the Implementation Plan is designed to guide the activities of Federal Departments and Agencies, successful implementation will depend upon active engagement and coordination with Alaska Natives and the State of Alaska. The Implementation Plan will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that progress continues to be made in positioning the United States to best prepare and respond to changes, challenges, and opportunities in the Arctic region. Progress on implementation actions by Federal Departments and Agencies will be provided through an annual report to the President.

Sen. Murkowski disappointed

Alaska’s senator Lisa Murkowski responded to the White House’s release of its Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region” by saying:

“I am disappointed the released Implementation Plan is less an action plan than it is a mere snap-shot of existing and ongoing efforts in the Arctic. It does little to advance an agenda or further new commitments to making the Arctic a priority. It does provide a means to measure how committed this Administration is to the Arctic by including timelines and time frames, but at this moment we need far more action and less words.”

‘all-of-the-above’ not for Alaska?

Murkowski also issued a separate statement commenting on the yesterday’s decision made by Shell to shelf its drilling plans offshore Alaska:

“I am disappointed that Shell will not be able to move forward with exploration this summer, but am not surprised given the 9th Circuit’s decision and the administration’s failure to provide regulatory and permitting certainty for oil development in the Arctic. We can’t expect Shell to continue to spend billions of dollars on this project when the rules keep changing.

“Just this week, the president claimed that he was committed to an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy plan, but clearly that is not the case in Alaska. The fact is that all of the increase in oil production the president touts has come from state and private lands – not on federal lands, and certainly not from Alaska. Instead of taking credit that he does not deserve, the president should be fixing the very real problems he has created in our state.

Related: Governor Parnell Disappointed by Shell’s Decision to Drop Drilling Offshore Alaska

“Companies willing to invest billions of dollars to develop our country’s resources must have confidence that the federal agencies responsible for overseeing their efforts are competent and working in good faith. I’m not convinced that has been the case for Alaska.

“I expect the administration to work quickly to address the deficiencies identified by the court in its analysis of lease sale 193. And, beyond that, I expect the president to demonstrate his unequivocal support for development in the Arctic. Our offshore resources are one of our greatest opportunities to improve America’s energy security, generate new revenue without raising taxes, create thousands of jobs across the country, and keep the trans-Alaska oil pipeline operational.”

Alaska’s Arctic offshore is estimated to contain 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Shell has so far invested close to $6 billion to develop its leases in Alaska’s Arctic, including more than $2 billion for the leases.

Murkowski is Alaska’s senior senator and the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

January 31, 2014