July 29, 2005
"This bill has been a long time in coming," said the governor. "Clearly, this legislation is good for the nation and good for Alaska. Not only does the bill contain provisions specific to Alaska, but it reinforces my belief in Alaska's critical role as a safe, domestic supplier of energy for the nation."
The energy bill addresses pressing energy needs in Rural Alaska, makes leasing changes in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska that will promote development, and contains other important provisions, such as small hydro licensing and measures designed to increase Alaska Outer Continental Shelf production.
The legislation includes authorization for $550 million in Rural Energy Assistance funds over 10 years to the Denali Commission and authorizes $50 million in Power Cost Equalization funding for the Denali Commission over the same period.
The bill contains a number of provisions designed to increase oil and gas production. It makes leasing changes in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to extend oil leases to give leaseholders more time to develop oil in the reserve. Another provision of the bill allows the Interior Secretary to suspend federal royalty requirements in Outer Continental Shelf leasing planning areas in Alaska in an effort to encourage Alaska OCS development.
The Regulatory Commission of Alaska could take over the licensing of small hydroelectric projects in Alaska that produce less than 5 megawatts of power under clarifying language included in the bill. This will help small hydro projects be built more cheaply and quickly.
"Having won the crucial
gas pipeline provisions in earlier legislation, this measure
is more good news or Alaska. Increased exploration and production
means jobs for Alaskans," Murkowski said. "I want to
thank the Congressional Delegation for their hard work in securing
important provisions for Alaska in this bill."
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