Alaska House weighs in on OCS leasing plan

The Alaska House of Representatives has passed a resolution urging that 11 of 14 planning areas in Alaska included in the 2019-2024 National outer Continental Shelf oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program be removed from the plan.

The action came Feb. 21 in a 33-5 vote, with strong bipartisan support.

Legislators planned to present House Resolution 6 to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, after her annual address to the Legislature on Feb. 22.

Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, said he was grateful that the “House was able to move quickly and show overwhelming support for both economic development and respect for all stakeholders in that development.”

“With this resolution, the Alaska House joins Alaska’s entire congressional delegation, the governor and a number of tribes and other stakeholders who have requested that 11 of the 14 planning areas be removed from the draft proposed plan,” said Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage.

“The Chukchi and Beaufort Seas planning areas have far and away the greatest estimated recoverable reserves for oil and gas, and while the Cook Inlet Planning Area has more modest potential, it is a critical source of affordable energy for Alaska’s most populous region,” Tarr said. “Lease sales in other areas are unlikely to attract significant interest, would create tremendous controversy, and would wastefully expend State and Federal money on lease sales which would not lead to development.”