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Time is past due to open ANWR say Officials
Developing ANWR Would Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs & Raise Revenue


September 21, 2011

(SitNews) WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives Commitee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing this morning on "ANWR: Jobs, Energy and Deficit Reduction". The hearing specifically examined the benefits of developing a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska as an opportunity to create new jobs and generate new revenue for the government. Responsible energy production on less than three percent of ANWR’s total land could create thousands of jobs and $150 billion or more in revenue over the life of production.

Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) in his opening statement to the committee said, "At a time when our Nation is in desperate need of new job creation and cutting the staggering national debt, this Committee is uniquely positioned to advance solutions that accomplish both of these priorities. Responsibly harnessing America's onshore and offshore energy resources will create millions of new jobs and generate billions in new revenue."

Hastings told the committee that ANWR is the single greatest opportunity for new energy production of federal land. No single energy project in American can produce more jobs and do more to reduce the debt.

In her testimony, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) expressed her frustration over the Obama administration’s repeated attempts to lock up lands in Alaska by designating them as wilderness to prevent resource development. Murkowski made her comments Wednesday in testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources during an oversight hearing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“Here we are with the federal government essentially broke – fighting all day, every day over every spending cut and revenue-raiser ever conceived, when the simple delivery on a decades old promise could render literally hundreds of billions in federal revenue without so much as raising a tax or cutting a single program,” Murkowski said. “But instead of looking for a responsible path towards accessing our resources, the Fish and Wildlife Service looks for ways to lock it up.”

The promise Murkowski is referring to is the one made by President Carter when signing the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. He stated, “100 percent of [Alaska’s] offshore areas and 95 percent of the potentially productive [onshore] oil and mineral areas will be available for exploration or for drilling.” Currently, less than one percent of federal lands onshore and none of the federal offshore lands are producing any oil or natural gas.

“Increasing production will result in job creation all over the country.  It will require oil-field monitoring software from companies in California, new trucks from Michigan, and goods and services from everywhere in between,” Murkowski said. “Every state will benefit, and the federal treasury will benefit the most.”

The non-wilderness coastal plain of ANWR has a mean-estimated 10.3 billion barrels of oil. To put that in perspective, the United States imports about 2 billion barrels of oil a year from OPEC nations and is expected to import 2.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from all sources this year, according to the Energy Department.

Also testifying today before the committee was U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). Senator Begich reinforced his message of the need to responsibly develop the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as a way to create tens of thousands of jobs for Alaskans and across the country.

In testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee Begich, also said developing ANWR should be part of a comprehensive energy plan that would reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy sources.

“With gasoline prices averaging $3.65 in the lower 48 states and unemployment around 9 percent, Alaska is here to help,” Sen. Begich said to the committee. “We can offer relief to consumers at the pump, provide well-paying jobs in Alaska and the Lower 48 and help reduce our $15 trillion deficit.”

On top of calling for development in ANWR, Sen. Begich offered the committee an update on efforts to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Each of these opportunities would create thousands of jobs.

“The University of Alaska’s Institute for Social and Economic Research estimates 54,000 jobs created from Alaskans working in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, including all the support and manufacturing jobs stretching from Alaska to the Lower 48,” Begich told the committee.

Sen. Begich is a co-sponsor of legislation to open ANWR to responsible oil and gas development.

At a time of high unemployment, high energy prices, and an urgent need to address our national debt, there is no question that this Nation needs the oil and gas that can be produced from ANWR," Representative Don Young (R-AK) told the committee.

Young said, "Although the ANWR region of Alaska encompasses 19 million acres, less than 2000 acres would actually be necessary to tap the region’s vast resources though ultra-modern, environmentally sensitive drilling technology, including slant-drilling. To give some perspective on size, if the State of Alaska were a 1,000 page phone book, the 2000 acre drilling area would be equal to one-half of a square inch on one page of the 1,000 page phone book."

"ANWR is believed to hold between 6 and 16 billion barrels of oil. The best estimate is that about 10 billion barrels of the oil are recoverable. But it could be much larger, which we will only know through actual drilling. For example, in 1968 the Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska, which is to the West of ANWR, was believed to hold 9 billion barrels of recoverable oil. But that proved to be a gross under-estimate. So far, Prudhoe Bay has produced 16 billion barrels, and it will continue to produce for many years to come," said Young.

Young told the committee if President Clinton, in 1995, had not vetoed legislation that would have allowed exploration and production in ANWR, oil would be flowing today. "As a result, we’d be enjoying the economic benefits of the hundreds of thousands of jobs created, increased revenue into the federal coffers, and a more certain energy supply," said Young.

"The time is past due to open ANWR, and I implore this Committee to proceed with a bill that will accomplish this," said Young.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell also offered testimony at the oversight hearing on “ANWR: Jobs, Energy and Deficit Reduction,” held by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA).

“Some of our nation’s richest oil reserves exist along the coastal plain known as ANWR,” Governor Parnell said. “It’s accessible. It’s extractable. And oil production and wildlife in ANWR are compatible. Oil from ANWR could help meet U.S. demand for the next 25 years – or longer. Responsible development of ANWR would create hundreds of thousands of jobs across our nation, in virtually every state, because a secure supply of petroleum will create demand for goods and services, and lower the cost of doing business.

Parnell said, “No citizens are more directly invested in keeping the Alaska environment pristine than Alaskans themselves. We need not choose between a vibrant economy, and a safe and clean environment. We can have both."

“I have long called for increasing American oil and gas production, as it is critically important for both our economy and our national security. Alaska can – and must – play a major role in achieving this," said Parnell.

“Today the United States imports over 65 percent of our nation's petroleum needs. These imports cost more than $150 billion a year, a figure which does not include the military costs – and the human cost - of imported oil, which is truly incalculable," said Governor Parnell.

Members of the Committee also heard testimony from a number of local Alaskans who would be directly impacted by increased American energy production, job creation and economic growth with the opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).  Following are excerpts from their testimony as they describe the benefits of opening ANWR to local communities, tribes, businesses, Alaska and the nation.

Fenton Okomailak Rexford, Tribal Administrator for the Native Village of Katovik:

  • “We would not favor development of the Coastal Plain unless we were confident that development can occur without jeopardizing our way of life.”
  • “Responsible development of ANWR is a matter of self-determination for my people.”
  • “Responsible ANWR development means my people will continue to access to running water and flush toilets throughout the region...”
  • “Development of the North Slope enables our community to sustain a local school.”
  • “Development will continue to provide search and rescue, police and fire protection for our North Slope communities."
  • “Development of the Coastal Plain of ANWR is a win-win situation for the American people, particularly for those of us who call this area home.”

Carey Hall, Carlile Transportation Systems, Ice Road Truck Driver:

  • “ANWR is crucial to keeping oil in our pipeline.  Without ANWR we have the threat of our nation’s pipeline—The Trans Alaska Pipeline shutting down.”
  • “People care about their own backyard more than they care about their neighbors—that is why Alaskans support ANWR opening—it’s our backyard.”
  • “We know that ANWR will produce tens of thousands of long term jobs; we know that infrastructure will be built; we know that tanker ships will be needed, pipe will be manufactured, and services will be contracted.”
  • “ANWR is not a bandaid for our debt and economy; it is a long term sustainable solution.”
  • “The oil and gas industry represents the corner stone of our business.  It is not only important to contractors and vendors such as a trucking company but to all our citizens in the State of Alaska and as a nation.  It produces jobs, lots of jobs, we need jobs!”
  • “ANWR is about careful planning, environmental stewardship, and looking to the future.  Alaskans know this will be done right and overwhelmingly support this cause.”

Tim Sharp, Alaska District Council of Laborers, representing approximately five thousands Alaskan Union members:

  • “…development would generate thousands of needed jobs, and the leverage and impact the foreign producers could have on us would lessen.”
  • “ANWR would be a great opportunity for the environmental community and the oil industry to work closely together and show what American technology and ingenuity could do.”
  • “I am addressing today the need for political action to offset our dwindling energy reserves in the next five to ten years but equally important the need for jobs today.”


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Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Sources of News: 

House Natural Resources Committee

Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski

Office of U.S. Senator Mark Begich

Office of Congressman Don Young


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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