Thursday, January 29, 2015

Team Obama Moves to Block Drilling in Parts of Alaska

The Philip Smith Mountains in the Arctic National 
Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in the summer of 2010. 
Photo: AlaskaPhotoGraphics/Corbis
Interior Department Plans to Designate Nearly 13 Million Acres in Refuge as Wilderness
The Obama administration is moving this week to designate areas of Alaska off limits to oil and natural gas drilling in its latest effort to bolster its environmental legacy.
The Interior Department announced on Sunday that it was proposing to preserve as wilderness nearly 13 million acres of land in the 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including 1.5 million acres of coastal plains that is believed to have rich oil and natural gas resources.
Later this week, the department also is slated to propose a draft offshore leasing plan that is expected to include more limits on future oil and gas production in Alaska.
The efforts are drawing a strong rebuke from congressional Republicans.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) vowed to fight the administration’s moves from her positions heading both the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Interior Department.
“It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory,” Ms. Murkowski said in a statement Sunday after speaking by phone with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday. “But we will not be run over like this. We will fight back with every resource at our disposal.”
While setting aside lands as wilderness requires congressional approval—something this administration is unlikely to get with both chambers controlled by Republicans—the proposed move puts the area into a state of de facto designation as wilderness and would prevent drilling, an Interior Department spokeswoman said.
Read the rest of the story HERE and watch a related video below:

Alaska Congressional Delegation News Conference on ANWR:

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