By Blu Putnam |
Responsibly developing the 10-02 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--a small sliver of Alaska's coast that is roughly .01 percent of the 19 million-acre refuge--would create thousands of jobs in Alaska and the Lower 48 at a time when our nation is hurting economically. It would provide a reliable domestic supply of oil for 25 years or longer--lowering our trade deficit, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and enhancing our national security. The coastal plain of ANWR is estimated to contain between 5.7 billion and nearly 16 billion barrels of oil. Studies show it could supply 1 million barrels per day of oil for a decade. Roughly speaking, this could replace our nation's oil imports from Venezuela or Saudi Arabia.
On Alaska's North Slope and throughout our state, we have a strong record of responsible resource development and stringent environmental requirements. With advances in technology such as temporary ice roads and extended-reach wells, we can explore for oil with little impact to the North Slope environment. At Prudhoe Bay--the nation's largest oil field--we have been protecting the North Slope's vital environmental assets (caribou, polar bears, migratory birds, and fisheries) for 30 years, and we certainly would do the same in ANWR's 10-02 Area.
The vast majority of Alaskans--Democrats, Republicans, Alaska natives and non-natives--support development of the 10-02 Area. The latest polls indicate 78 percent of the Alaska public and 100 percent of our elected officials support exploration there, and support appears to be growing in the Lower 48. This year, a majority of Americans polled by Gallup agreed with us.
Drilling in the coastal plain is a key element of the state of Alaska's goal to boost the flow of oil through the Trans-Alaska pipeline to 1 million barrels a day of oil within a decade. We would like to do our part to help the nation reduce its reliance on foreign oil. But it will be difficult to achieve this goal if we do not unlock additional hydrocarbon-rich areas of the North Slope. As Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell recently testified to Congress, "It's accessible. It's extractable. And oil production and wildlife in ANWR are compatible."
About Dan Sullivan Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Cindy Shogan Executive Director of the Alaska Wilderness League
Edward J. Markey U.S. Congressman
Doc Hastings U.S. Congressman
John Fleming U.S. Congressman
Marilyn Crockett Executive Director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association
Robbie Diamond Founder, President and CEO of Securing America's Future Energy
Lisa Murkowski U.S. Senator