ANWR: A Step Closer to Energy Dominance

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Washington, September 12, 2019 | Ben Goldey | comments

Today, members of the Senate and Congressional Western Caucus released the following statements after the release of the final environment impact statement on energy exploration in Section 1002 Area of ANWR:

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): "Responsible energy production in Section 1002 is not only a victory for Alaska, but for all America. Increased domestic energy production will create new jobs, support energy independence, and promote national security. For years Alaskans, their elected officials, and native communities have voiced support for energy production in this tiny area. It’s time to get it done."

Senate Western Caucus Chairman Steve Daines (MT): "Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to creating good paying jobs here at home and keeping our country on track towards global energy dominance, making the world a much safer place."

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (AK): "This is a major step forward in our decades-long efforts to allow for responsible resource development in Alaska’s 1002 Area, and I thank Secretary Bernhardt and his team for their thousands of hours of hard work. I’m hopeful we can now move to a lease sale in the very near future, just as Congress intended, so that we can continue to strengthen our economy, our energy security, and our long-term prosperity."

Senator Dan Sullivan (AK): "For decades, Alaskans have been urging their federal government to open the 1002 area of ANWR for exploration. At long last, Congress voted to allow it. Now, the administration is working diligently to fulfill Congress’s directions in a transparent and responsible process. I welcome today’s announcement— another critical step in the process to unleash Alaska’s energy and economic potential. As Alaska has shown time and again, we can responsibly develop our resources, under the highest environmental standards, to grow our state and significantly contribute toward the goal of energy dominance for our country."

Vice-Chairman for Indian Affairs and Oceans Don Young (AK-At Large): "The release of this final EIS to open the 1002 area of ANWR is the culmination of decades of work. I have fought for responsible oil and gas exploration on the Coastal Plain since ANWR was created, and I am immensely pleased that we have reached this stage. Alaskans are committed environmental stewards, and they know how to balance environmental protection and resource development — we did it in Prudhoe Bay and we’ll do it again in ANWR. I want to thank President Trump and his Administration, particularly Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, former Assistant Secretary Joe Balash, and Alaska BLM State Director Chad Padgett for their tireless work in completing this EIS and getting us closer to fully-realized resource development in the 1002 area of ANWR."

Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01): "I applaud the Bureau of Land Management’s hard work in developing this report and stepping closer to implementing energy exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). This Environmental Impact Statement shows we are more than capable of opening federal lands to energy exploration while protecting native, migratory, threatened, and endangered wildlife. Restrictive legislation, like attempts on the House floor this week to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s ANWR provision and limit energy exploration elsewhere, represents a misunderstanding about the relationship between energy and our environment. All-of-the-above energy policies prove that we can protect our environment while promoting a strong economy and reducing energy costs for the American people."

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (WY At-Large): "I applaud this Administration’s commitment to eliminating bureaucratic roadblocks that hinder economic growth. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has allowed Wyoming families to keep more of their hard-earned money and has facilitated the strengthening of our domestic energy industry.  Today’s announcement is another promise kept by President Trump. I look forward to continuing to work with the President and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that Wyoming remains a leader in energy production."

Chairman Emeritus Rob Bishop (UT-01): "The right of Alaska Natives to control their livelihoods is now protected by law. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act promoted the ability to provide for their families and communities as they see fit. These BLM findings further support the local use of these resources as well as providing appropriate protections. The Bureau should be proud of the thousands of hours of hard work put into supporting the law and empowering local will. It comes as no surprise that Democrats presume to know better. Their politically-motivated rejection of local will is symptomatic of the misguided notion that Washington knows best. They have introduced legislation to roll back the will of the people and punish the Alaska Natives for securing ways to improve their lives. Alaska Natives should be heartened to know that these obstructionist efforts will likely find no support beyond the toothless messaging votes cast by House Democrats."

Chief Wildlife and Water Officer Tom McClintock (CA-04): "After years of unwarranted opposition from out-of-state environmentalists and obstructionist politicians, I am glad to see this administration work the will of the American people. It’s steps like this that will ensure American energy independence for future generations."

Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Bruce Westerman (AR-04): "Approving development on the 1002 Area in ANWR has been a long time in the making. Congress initially set aside 1.57 million acres for development in the 19 million acre refuge in 1980. Today’s decision approves exploration on less than one hundredth of 1 percent of that land, about 2,000 acres in total. More than 13,000 manhours went into rigorously reviewing the environmental impact of this development, ensuring that developers will produce clean, American energy at the highest standard. This decision further underscores the Trump administration’s success in promoting American energy dominance."

Chief Agriculture and Business officer Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): "House Democrats have picked up where they left off, with yet another attempt to take decision making out of the hands of those who it affects in the name of phony environmental activism. The state of Alaska and the native people that live within the wildlife refuge want to be able to develop their land and support themselves. They fought to include language to allow them to do so in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and now Democrats from across the country want to strip the local people of the ability to support their own economy and manage their own natural resources. They’re ignoring the lives and wellbeing of the people this decision effects most, and it’s wrong."

Chief Regulatory Reform Officer Andy Biggs (AZ-05): "Opening up ANWR’s Coastal Plain for oil and gas development is supported by a significant number of Alaskans, including the people who live closest to the Coastal Plain and the congressional delegation from Alaska.  I fully support their efforts to bring a much-needed economic boom to northeastern Alaska."

Senator Mike Lee (UT): "At a time when Democratic presidential candidates are promising to end all energy investments on public lands, thus killing tens of thousands of American jobs, it is good to see the current administration fighting for energy production grounded in environmental science."

Senator Kevin Cramer (ND): "The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act continues to provide real results for the American people. American energy production helps our economy and national security while making us less reliant on foreign countries. I applaud the Trump Administration and Secretary Bernhardt for their thorough efforts to implement the law in a responsible and timely manner."

Senator Bill Cassidy (LA): "Development of this small section of ANWR creates jobs and moves America forward towards energy dominance."

Senator Mike Enzi (WY): "I’m pleased the administration is moving forward to establish a leasing program along the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I was proud to have played a role in this limited development through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I am hopeful this will help us meet our energy needs and reduce our energy dependence on foreign oil. This could create new jobs and generate billions of dollars while preserving the vast majority of the area."

Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42): "With American energy production at all-time levels, it is unconscionable that my home state of California imports nearly 60% of its oil from foreign sources. We must continue to maximize our nation’s vast energy resources to reduce dependence on foreign energy and strengthen our national security. Opening ANWR’s Coastal Plain to oil and gas leasing will grow our economy and increase domestic energy production – all while maintaining critical environmental safeguards. I applaud the Bureau of Land Management for their tireless work to finalize this Environmental Impact Statement, and I look forward to full implementation of the ANWR leasing provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act."

Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01): "I am proud of the thorough and legally sound process the Department of Interior has undertaken to produce this final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This final EIS is a step to furthering our country’s energy independence while providing new jobs in rural America. I look forward to the first lease sale."

Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03): "Tax reform not only delivered on tax cuts for the country, but it paved the way to further American energy dominance by authorizing the development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The development of this region will create jobs, lower prices of oil and gas, and continue our successes of domestic energy production."

Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01): "The Environmental Impact Statement regarding the leasing program along the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) proves that energy dominance and environmental protection are not antithetical. The Bureau of Land Management and many other cooperating agencies are opening access to the untapped and abundant oil reserves in ANWR, while also protecting the diverse wildlife species that migrate through northern Alaska. The leasing program in ANWR is supported by the Iñupiat people of Kaktovik, the closest indigenous people to the area; it will grow the tax base; it will increase job opportunities; and it will reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil even further so that the United States will no longer have to support countries fraught with instability, poor human rights records, and lax environmental standards."

Congressman Kevin Hern (OK-01): "Energy dominance on the world stage is essential to a strong American future. Reliance on our foreign adversaries for resources is dangerous and weakens our country. This is a fantastic step forward in the process to utilize the resources we have in the Arctic National Wildlife Range."

Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08): "Today I stand with President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt, and my colleagues from Alaska in applauding the release of the Final EIS for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in ANWR. America’s unrivaled natural resources are a major part of what makes this nation great. Whether it be oil in Alaska or mining and forestry in northern Minnesota, it is always better to develop our natural resources with our workers in our home. A product of the world’s strongest environmental laws, this Final EIS is the blueprint to continue President Trump’s vision of independence from our foreign adversaries while driving down the cost of energy for our citizens."

Congressman Kevin Hern (OK-01): "Energy dominance on the world stage is essential to a strong American future. Reliance on our foreign adversaries for resources is dangerous and weakens our country. This is a fantastic step forward in the process to utilize the resources we have in the Arctic National Wildlife Range."

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02): "The release of this Environmental Impact Statement means that we can finally open Alaska’s North Slope to a lease sale. There is untapped potential in Alaska to ensure that the United States can be energy independent. I applaud the Trump Administration for pursuing an all-of-the above energy approach that is good for our national security and our economy."

Congressman Ken Buck (CO-04): "The people of Alaska have spent decades fighting to develop the natural resources in ANWR. Allowing this access will improve America’s energy independence, create jobs, and provide affordable, reliable energy for millions. I appreciate the efforts of those who’ve worked tirelessly to open responsible production in ANWR while ensuring protections are in place for native species and the environment."

Background:

Today, the Bureau of Land Management released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program meeting the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act mandate to establish a leasing program in the Section 1002 Area National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Section 200001 of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act which authorized oil and gas production on 2,000 acres in the Section 1002 of the ANWR.

ANWR consists of 19.64 million acres. The Section 1002 Area encompasses 1.57 million acres and was set aside to be designated by Congress at the time of ANWR’s creation due to its significant potential for oil and gas production. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act authorized a small sliver in Section 1002 comprising 2,000 acres for oil and gas production.

The oil and gas sector in Alaska contributes nearly 90% of the State’s unrestricted General Fund and supports more than 110,000 jobs. Oil and gas revenues are the second largest income generator for the U.S. Treasury behind only taxes. Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey believe Section 1002 contain more than 12 billion barrels of oil.

Not only does energy development in Section 1002 have the support of the inhabitants in the region, it has the support of our colleague Congressman Don Young and Alaska’s 2 Senators. In addition, the majority of Alaskans support it, every Alaskan Governor since 1980 has supported it, 100% of Alaska’s Congressional delegation since 1980 has supported it, and the Natives of the Village of Kaktovik, the Inupiat, the only tribe within Section 1002, support it.

We can have responsible energy production in Section 1002 while protecting the environment and ensuring the highest safeguards available for ANWR. The United States is a leader in energy production and has reduced more total carbon dioxide emissions than any other nation in the world due to our significantly stronger environmental protections. Recent innovation and technology improvements associated with fracking and horizontal drilling have allowed shale resources previously deemed uneconomical to be developed and are the main reason the U.S. was the world leader in carbon emissions reductions in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Courtesy of the Interior Department:

A key component of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law December 22, 2017, requires the first lease sale to offer at least 400,000 acres of high-potential hydrocarbon lands for bid. The first step to a Lease Sale is a Federal Register notice calling for nominations and comments on tracts to consider in the upcoming Lease Sale, following the Record of Decision for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) anticipated this fall.

More than 70 employees (BLM, contract, other federal agencies and the State of Alaska) and at least 13,000 labor hours were dedicated to developing the Environmental Impact Statement.  An integral part of the analysis included staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who were instrumental in developing the range of alternatives contained in the EIS as well as the protective mitigation measures. The Final EIS includes protections for species native to the area and any migrating species listed as threatened or endangered.

You can view the Final EIS when  on the Coastal Plain project page and a map showing potential tracts and additional information at the BLM Alaska Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Lease Sale web page.

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